According to Lt-Col Marc Nimburanira, a Heart Specialist, at least two children suffering from congenital heart disease come for consultation per day while a child suffering from acquired heart disease is consulted per week-by Lorraine Josiane Manishatse
Among children who have heart disease, the majority suffers from congenital heart disease that they are born with. Babies born from women suffering from diabetes have often that problem. Concerning acquired heart disease caught after birth, it is often caused by angina when it hasn’t been treated well.
Dr Nimburanira indicates that for children suffering from congenital heart disease, sometimes the problem can naturally be solved when there is an arterial canal closure. If the canal is not closed, it involves going abroad for catheterization or heart surgery, as there isn’t any special hospital for the treatment in Burundi.
Clinical signs of heart disease are shown through troubles in respiration, baby skin colour changing, repetitive transpirations, breasting problems, and lack of weight progress as expected. A child aged of three or six months may still have the weight of a newborn.
Nicole Delya Kaze, a mother from Jabe in Bujumbura City Council regrets that her baby died because of the lack of catheterization care in Burundi. Her son was suffering from congenital heart disease.“My child died when we were about to bring him to France where we were in contact with an association called “Mécenat”, which helps children suffering from heart disease who need surgery to arrive there for treatment,” she deplores.
For Ajuwaye Elivanette, met at Kamenge Military Hospital, her child has spent more than six months in hospital. The child is two years and two months old but weighs only 4kg.“Our child needs to get a heart surgery abroad but we don’t have enough money to pay for that care. We will stay here until he dies. There is no hope that he will be healed” she says.
Nimburanira asks parents to bring their children very quickly to hospital when they notice clinical signs of the disease.He advises doctors to consult carefully children who have fever due to angina and treat it well to prevent them from getting a heart disease. He also adds that if they note that a child has a heart trouble, they should send him immediately to a heart specialist who will order him an echocardiography to determine the cause of the suffering.
He also asks Burundi Government to give scholarships to doctors so that we can have cardio-paediatricians who will be able to deal with catheterization and surgery for children suffering from heart disease.