CardioStart Mission Announcement to Kumasi, Ghana
Adult Cardiac Surgical Mission & Pacemaker Implementation Program

February 14-26, 2016

CardioStart International Board and International Missions Committee is proud to announce its 2016 mission to Kumasi, Ghana at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). Applicants are welcome to apply at our “Volunteer Interest” form. Team selections will be made based on team needs and professional experience. CardioStart balances each team with returning volunteers and those joining a mission for the first time.


The Republic of Ghana is located in West Africa. Kumasi lies west of the capital Accra. This second major historic city was once the capital of the Ashanti Empire. It continues to serve as the cultural center of the Ashanti people. Although the city was destroyed almost a century ago, modern Kumasi has a good cultural center and museum as well as the modern palace of the Asantehene.

Ghana has been widely viewed as one of Africa’s most stable democracies, becoming a republic in July 1960. It was the first African nation to achieve independence from its colonial heritage under the United Kingdom in 1957. The name Ghana was chosen for the new nation to reflect the ancient Empire of Ghana that once extended throughout much of western Africa, (in the Ashanti language, it is spelled Gaana). It compares in size to Oregon, USA.

Much of the historical interest in Ghana is based upon its legacy as the center of the gold, ivory, and slave trade during the 17th and 18th centuries. In modern times, Ghana possesses one of the best game reserves in West Africa, a multitude of good beaches and is well known for its hospitality.

Cardiac Surgery Status in Ghana

There is a single center in Accra. The National Cardiothoracic Center is performing a small number of cases each year (approximately 100, mostly valves). Accra cannot do more than a small volume of cases due to varying types of restrictions, and some of these are fee-paying private cases. The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi serves a regionally more deprived population and will help meet the volume of cases needing to be done. It has already received assistance from major centers including the Mayo Clinic, led by Dr. Lewis Roberts, and the Boston Children’s Hospital.

CardioStarts’ role will be to further develop a comprehensive adult cardiac surgery program, this will be part of a regular visiting program alternating between pediatric and adult cardiac surgery, collaborating with the Boston Children’s team by going at different times, to complement their work.


The team will then quickly prepare the OR and ICU to prepare for two weeks of cases. CardioStart will work with the local team to further establish cardiac surgery at the hospital and help set the necessary benchmarks for the hospital to become a regional tertiary referral center.  As part of this mission, the team will be assisting development with more complex procedures; help evolve the rhythm of regular operating; monitor progress and continue providing ongoing physician and nurse cardiology/surgical medical education.

Cases will further prepare the entire program with nursing, biomedical, perfusion, ICU equipment and teaching. The cases will be chosen according to the discretion of the cardiologists and heart surgeons, in collaboration with the Ghana team and will likely be adult congenital presentations or valvular pathology. There is not currently a catheter suite, using C-Arm technology pacemaker implantations assistance will be offered and performed during this time period.

Recommended Cardiac surgery team requirements:
1-2 Adult Anesthesiologists
1 Intensivist
2 Adult Cardiac Surgeons
2 Adult Cardiologists (1 filled)
1 Case manager (ACNP)
2 Perfusionists
8 Cardiovascular ICU nurses (Pacemaker Nurses invited to apply)
1 Biomedical engineer
1 Respiratory therapist
1 Echo Tech
1 Education Coordinator
2 OR Nurses/Techs (1 circulating, 1 scrub)
2 Database research assistants

Mission Travel Details

Airfare costs will be self-funded by each volunteer.  Popular flight corridors are through Frankfurt, Amsterdam or London, direct to Accra. Volunteers will stay the night in Accra and then join a bus provided by KATH for the 5- hour drive to Kumasi. DO NOT PURCHASE A TICKET UNTIL YOU ARE CONFIRMED ON THE TEAM.

This will be provided. Volunteers should expect that they may be asked to agree to same-sex room sharing in order to help reduce the costs. CardioStart will assure minimum standards to ensure volunteer safety and comfort.

During the day, meals will be available and provided for by the hospital.   Evening meals/snacks, etc. is available in the hotel or local restaurants in Kumasi, at volunteers own expense. They are generally of a high standard and inexpensive.

Safari, coastal trips and other adventures are worth considering. CardioStart mission leaders cannot directly help you make internal tourist travel arrangements but you can usually obtain travel packages during the week you arrive.  Any tours must be made before or after the mission, and CardioStart assumes no responsibility.

Medical issues:
All volunteer activity will be carried out with universal precautionary measures.   You should have a routine check-up before travel of your HIV and Hepatitis a/b/c status. Vaccinations should be reviewed and documented by your local travel clinic. Those with serious medical conditions should obtain consultation and approval from their doctor prior to the mission. You will also be required to either purchase travel medical insurance or proof of medical coverage out of your home country. (Full details will be sent to those volunteers joining this mission).

How To Apply:
Please visit our “Volunteer Interest” form, complete the volunteer information and upload your CV/resume. Make sure you select the appropriate mission from the drop-down box on the volunteer interest form.

If you are accepted on the team, you will receive additional correspondence from CardioStart to proceed in submitting necessary paperwork and documentation.

Phil Wendschuh, MD
Board Chairman
CardioStart International Inc.