The pandemic threatens vulnerable families.

Terre des hommes (uk)

Oumar, 11 years old,
was born with several heart defects

Oumar had a number of heart problems, which made surgery in Senegal risky. Following an operation in Switzerland, he is now in excellent health.

Healing complex heart defects with surgery

Oumar was born in Dakar, Senegal. When he was one, his mother began to notice some worrying symptoms. Oumar tired quickly. His nails and lips turned blue, then black.

His family took him to hospital where he underwent many tests. Senegalese doctors suspected heart disease, but were unable to establish a clear diagnosis. When Oumar was four, cardiologists decided to give him a cardiac MRI, an expensive test requiring sophisticated equipment. The results were concerning. He had a number of cyanotic heart defects, with which he has a life expectancy of under eleven years.

Oumar’s family was unable to pay for the necessary surgery, and Senegal lacked the medical infrastructure to treat such a complex case. But in 2010, he was given a new chance at life. One of the hospital’s cardiologists put the family in contact with Tdh, which agreed to transfer Oumar to Switzerland for surgery to correct his heart problems.

Oumar travelled to Switzerland and was treated at Lausanne University Hospital. He underwent a six-hour operation. The surgery was a success, but a pacemaker was implanted to allow Oumar to live a completely normal life. Back with his family in Senegal, he found his smile again. He could return to school and can play with other children his age – as he always dreamed of.