Kingstown, St. Vincent – World Pediatric Project (WPP) recently hosted its first diagnostic cardiology mission for 2020 led by Dr. William Moskowitz, who urged Vincentians and citizens in the Eastern Caribbean to be vigilant and proactive in screening and monitoring as he says there is far more rheumatic heart disease than there is congenital heart disease.

The mission which ran from Friday February 28th – Monday 2nd March at the Milton Cato Memorial saw over 100 children with six scheduled for surgery as 99% of the cardiology cases are done in Richmond Virginia. Dr. Moskowitz was assisted by Dr. Theodore Millett Pediatric Cardiology Resident and Dr. Datta with additional support from our competent local team. This mission serviced a large number of children 6 of who were identified for surgery overseas as the complexity of the surgical invention and all it requires has to be done in the US.

In an interview with the Ministry of Health Communication Team Dr Moskowitz said “the mission has been going well and as always the team is well prepared, a lot of this was follow up to see if they (the children) are doing well or if it’s time for the next surgery or if we need to fine tune them as they have grown”. He added “a lot of times the surgeries that we do in infancy and young childhood don’t grow with the patients so once they have achieved adolescence growth a lot of time we have to go back to the catheterization and put in a large suture line or enlarge the stents we put in the past, to keep up with their growth. The idea is to maintain them as active as possible and as normal as possible so they can reach their adult growth, development and activities”. He further stated that “as importantly if not more importantly is rheumatic heart disease which the WHO World Health Organization has known that the EC ( Eastern Caribbean) is an endemic area and every time we come here for the last almost 2 decades we see rheumatic heart disease, we have done through the Ministry of Health and Education and through WPP have built a program for detection and prevention and clearly over the last number of years there have been fewer cases so that part of it is working, but we have to continue to educate the principals and teachers in the schools, the parents of children as well as the health districts to look out for strep throat and to treat it early to prevent rheumatic fever and then if you have rheumatic fever to prevent recurrences by being sure the patients continue to get penicillin every month there is far more rheumatic heart disease than there is congenital heart disease and that’s why both of those are so important.”

World Pediatric Project forges on with a steadfast commitment towards ensuring no child is left behind as every child counts, whether locally, regionally or internationally. Similar diagnostic cardiology clinics were also held in St. Lucia, Dominica and St. Kitts as part of the decentralization of services provided by WPP and an upcoming clinic is scheduled in Antigua this weekend. WPP continues to prioritize the medical needs of our children and seek your support in any and all activities we undertake to raise funds to assist with providing our children with the best possible care.