Published November 14, 2023
Children’s HeartLink is delighted to announce our newest hospital partnership, between children’s heart care teams at Amrita Hospital Faridabad and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
This multi-year partnership is designed to ensure lasting, sustainable impact in the availability of heart care for children with congenital heart disease (CHD) in India. This is the second new partnership announced by Children’s HeartLink in 2023, the 8th in India and the 22nd hospital partner for the nonprofit worldwide.
“Our aim is to strengthen and support Amrita Hospital Faridabad to be named a Children’s HeartLink Center of Excellence for pediatric cardiac care,” said Jackie Boucher, Children’s HeartLink president. “This partnership is a crucial step towards increasing access to high quality care for all children with CHD in India, and we are privileged to be in partnership with both Amrita Hospital Faridabad and CHOP.”
Addressing India’s gap in pediatric cardiac care
In India, approximately 240,000 children are born with CHD each year, and there is an urgent need for an estimated 144,000 infants to have CHD procedures annually.
Although the need is high, 90% of newborns with CHD who need heart care to survive and thrive do not receive treatment, underscoring a significant deficit in available care. The nation has a shortage of pediatric cardiologists, pediatric cardiac surgeons and centers equipped to handle infant heart conditions.
Amrita Hospital Faridabad to provide needed pediatric heart care in the region
Founded in 2022, Amrita Hospital Faridabad is an institution with a strong social commitment focused on health care, teaching and research. This private charitable hospital caters to both domestic and international patients with 2,600 beds and 81 specialties.
In October 2022, the hospital commenced its pediatric cardiology services, performing surgery on an estimated 20 to 30 children with heart disease each month. Their aspirational goal through the partnership with Children’s HeartLink and CHOP is to double the number of children reached.
“Amrita Faridabad is an emerging new center and starting a partnership at this stage with Children’s HeartLink and CHOP allows us to implement some of the good practices and processes in the pediatric cardiac program,” said Dr. Ashish Katewa, head of pediatric cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Amrita Hospital Faridabad.
Building the foundation for excellence with medical volunteers from CHOP
Medical volunteers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) will share their expertise in pediatric heart care with the team at Amrita Hospital Faridabad. CHOP, located in Pennsylvania, USA, is renowned for its excellent clinical outcomes, extensive international experience, committed leadership and status as a teaching hospital.
“Without care, many children will die early in life from types of CHD that can be effectively treated at many centers throughout the world,” said Dr. Joe Rossano, chief of pediatric cardiology and co-director of the Cardiac Center at CHOP. “Improving access to heart care, including timely diagnosis and referral to advanced centers, is critical to decreasing child mortality around the world.”
In July 2023, Dr. Rossano and Dr. Maully Shah, director of pediatric cardiac electrophysiology in the Cardiac Center at CHOP, were part of the Children’s HeartLink medical volunteers from CHOP who conducted a comprehensive medical assessment at Amrita Hospital Faridabad.
The purpose of the visit was to understand the hospital’s mission, vision, programmatic needs and growth potential to support more children with heart disease.
“The team at Amrita Faridabad is exceptional,” Dr. Shah said. “The entire team is well trained, experienced and is renowned in the field of pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery. They have come together with a mission to make exceptional healthcare accessible to all patients with congenital heart disease. I am truly inspired by their ability to provide cutting edge treatment with profound attention to cost and efficiency without compromising compassion and humility.”
Over the coming years, the two teams will work closely together to improve the program at Amrita Hospital Faridabad.
A sustainable path forward
Children’s HeartLink employs a phased approach to improving pediatric heart care programs in underserved parts of the world. Partner hospitals evolve through phases of foundation-building and capability refinement to leadership preparation and sustainability. These phases position partner hospitals to grow into Children’s HeartLink Centers of Excellence, which means they can sustain their own pediatric heart care program and can train their peers to improve care for children in their region.
To become a partner hospital and begin this journey, Children’s HeartLink rigorously evaluates hospitals for six essential criteria:
- Active cardiac program and team
- Surgical volume exceeding 100 procedures per year
- An active referral network
- A commitment to growth
- A commitment to teaching
- Evidence of government support
Amrita Hospital Faridabad has not only met but exceeded these criteria, and their previous affiliation with Children’s HeartLink’s Center of Excellence Amrita Hospital in Kochi further solidified their eligibility for this prestigious partnership.
Expanding access to pediatric heart care: A bright future ahead
An important piece of Children’s HeartLink partnerships is training, empowering and mentoring nurses to be the best advocates they can be for their patients. Ms. Maria Lazaro, nursing director for Amrita Hospital Faridabad, said the new partnership will pave a way for interaction with a well-established and renowned institution in pediatric cardiology.
“Amrita’s aim is always to achieve excellence in its care for patients,” Ms. Lazaro said. “The nursing department will achieve this excellence in caring for children with CHD and post-operative surgeries with advanced learning and appropriate protocols resulting from the partnership. Already the assessment visit has created a bond where CHOP is willing to share their expertise and Amrita is willing to use the skill to become a Center of Excellence and help other nursing teams in our region.”
The partnership between Amrita Hospital Faridabad and CHOP represents an exceptional opportunity for mutual learning, collaboration and innovation. They will work together towards scaling services, integrating and coordinating clinical care, conducting research and enhancing training and education. This partnership is a vital step towards significantly improving access to high-quality pediatric cardiac care in India and saving countless young lives.
Children’s HeartLink partnerships are possible because of people like you. Our work is 100% funded by the generosity of others. Make a donation or reach out to see how you can support our work in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.