Since 2014, the BSE has partnered with SunHeart in Cape Town to deliver the Echo in Africa programme. During that time, 200 volunteers (predominantly BSE members) have travelled to South Africa to offer their vital skills to an underserved population. Between them they have scanned almost 7500 children, identifying 200 with previously undetected rheumatic heart disease and a further 55 with congenital anomalies. Identifying these conditions early has transformed the lives of these children, giving them access to prophylactic treatment, long term management and the best chance of a good quality of life. It is fair to say, this programme has made a significant difference to the lives of some of the least fortunate children in South Africa.
The project has been the grateful beneficiary of significant support from the Edwards Lifesciences Grant Programme and the fundraising efforts of the many volunteers. All of the funds raised have gone towards the running costs of the project, including the purchase of 10 Vivid I echo machines, associated volunteer costs and the funding of a PhD Bursary for Dr Luke Hunter who is based in Capetown.
The BSE has also committed its own resources to the project, including an initial loan to fund infrastructure, administrative support and volunteer management. We believe it has been a fantastically worthwhile project which has benefitted everyone involved; not just the children scanned and wider communities which have been educated in South Africa, but also all of the volunteers who have fed back that they have learned a great deal during the volunteer weeks.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers who have given their time, worked so hard to fundraise and used their expertise to benefit others.
We are immensely proud of what has been achieved and would like to ensure we can serve other populations in the future. On that basis, the BSE is now considering where it can best apply its efforts in terms of humanitarian projects in the future. We would love to hear your ideas! If you would like to propose communities to be supported in the future, please email below and we will put your ideas to the BSE Council for consideration.
Send your ideas