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The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery (WCPCCS) will be held in Washington DC, USA, from Saturday, 26 August, 2023 to Friday, 1 September, 2023, inclusive. The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery will be the largest and most comprehensive scientific meeting dedicated to paediatric and congenital cardiac care ever held. At the time of the writing of this manuscript, The Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery has 5,037 registered attendees (and rising) from 117 countries, a truly diverse and international faculty of over 925 individuals from 89 countries, over 2,000 individual abstracts and poster presenters from 101 countries, and a Best Abstract Competition featuring 153 oral abstracts from 34 countries. For information about the Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, please visit the following website: [www.WCPCCS2023.org]. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the activities related to global health and advocacy that will occur at the Eighth World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.
Acknowledging the need for urgent change, we wanted to take the opportunity to bring a common voice to the global community and issue the Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action on Addressing the Global Burden of Pediatric and Congenital Heart Diseases. A copy of this Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action is provided in the Appendix of this manuscript. This Washington DC WCPCCS Call to Action is an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the global burden, promoting the development of sustainable care systems, and improving access to high quality and equitable healthcare for children with heart disease as well as adults with congenital heart disease worldwide.
This review will outline the role of visiting cardiac surgical teams in low- and middle-income countries drawing on the collective experience of the authors in a wide range of locations. Requests for assistance can emerge from local programmes at a beginner or advanced stage. However, in all circumstances, careful pre-trip planning is necessary in conjunction with clinical and non-clinical local partners. The clinical evaluation, surgical procedures, and postoperative care all serve as a template for collaboration and education between the visiting and local teams in every aspect of care. Education focusses on both common and patient-specific issues. Case selection must appropriately balance the clinical priorities, safety, and educational objectives within the time constraints of trip duration. Considerable communication and practical challenges will present, and clinicians may need to make significant adjustments to their usual practice in order to function effectively in a resource-limited, unfamiliar, and multilingual environment. The effectiveness of visiting trips should be measured and constantly evaluated. Local and visiting teams should use data-driven evaluations of measurable outcomes and critical qualitative evaluation to repeatedly re-assess their interim goals. Progress invariably takes several years to achieve the final goal: an autonomous self-governing, self-financed, cardiac programme capable of providing care for children with complex CHD. This outcome is consistent with redundancy for the visiting trips model at the site, although fraternal, professional, and academic links will invariably remain for many years.
The care of patients with CHD remains a challenge in low- and middle-income countries. Their health systems have not been able to achieve consistently high performance in this field. The large volume of patients, manpower constraints, inconsistencies in the level and type of background training of the teams caring for this patient population, and the inadequate quality control systems are some of the barriers to achieving excellence of care. We describe three different international projects supporting the paediatric cardiac surgical and paediatric cardiac intensive care programmes in Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean.
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