A large number of patients in developing countries require surgical correction of congenitally malformed hearts. Unfortunately, only a limited number of centres offer these patients surgery at an affordable cost. In this review, we discuss the problems in managing these patients, with an emphasis on reduction of costs, so that the maximum number of patients can benefit. It is apparent that containing costs requires a multipronged approach, which begins with timely referral, and continues with early surgical correction and adequate postoperative care carried out in a scientific manner. Indigenization, innovation, training of manpower, and building a team, are essential to cut the costs, and to improve the quality of care.