Information Letter

Kalangos Foundation is a not profit Swiss organization which provides health care facilities to children suffering from cardiac diseases in middle and low income countries. Since its creation in 2000, more than 17’000 children have been treated by the medical staff of the foundation in 25 middle and low income countries and more than 100 health professionals  have been trained in multiple cardiovascular educational programs organized by the foundation in different low income countries.


Athens, Greece . April 11 - 15, 2018
Phone: +43 664 202 96 91; Website:


Journal of Humanitarian Cardiovascular Medicine

The Journal of Heart Diseases in Low-and Middle Income Countries


The inequality between North and South is widening every day. Developing countries face a chronic shortfall in financial, technological and human resources, a heavy burden of widespread communicable disease and the devastating consequences of socio- political conflicts. As an example to this, Rheumatic Carditis (RhC) remains either in its acute or its chronic form the most common acquired and easy to prevent heard disease in childhood. More, it has been estimated that the deaths caused by RhC are more than the total sum of deaths due to Rota virus, meningitis and hepatitis B virus. They are equal to the 50% of deaths from malaria.To these, globalization and new lifestyles have added in recent years the rapid emergence of “diseases of affluence”, among which cardio-vascular conditions in both children and adult feature as the most life threatening. The data from WHO has shown that since 1993, worldwide morbidity and mortality related to non-communicable diseases has rose for the first time surpassing those due to communicable or infection diseases. Regarding Cardiovascular diseases, oncoming data from 2012 up to date suggest an increase in the incidence of them mostly among low- and middle-income countries. This condition setts a state of a cardiovascular worldwide pandemic. It is to the benefit of nations and societies to prioritize this public health burden.

There are currently between 8 and 24 million children in the world who were born with congenital malformations, half of whom will die for lack of care before reaching their second birthday. Among the survivors, 5 million, mostly in poor countries, are in desperate need of open-heart surgery. The incidence of Congenital Heart Diseases (CHD) worldwide has been estimated to 1.2 cases per 100 living births. This figure underestimates the true number of patients. Only when applying the fertility rate of every country, we can calculate the population of neonates presenting with a CHD. The burden then rests in Low-and Middle-Income countries that have the highest fertility rates.

It has been calculated that 50% of children suffering from CHD will perish during their first year of life. More, 50% of these deaths will happen in the first month of their lives. Notably in addition it has been estimated that in Low-and Middle-Income countries approximately 90% of children with heart diseases do not have access to cardiovascular centers. For how long will they have to wait? This issue calls for immediate action.

Cardiovascular diseases are rapidly emerging as a major threat for the health of populations in the developing world. They could offer both a challenge and an opportunity, provided the international community fully understands that by organizing the response now, at the point of emergence, we can prevent them turning into a widespread disaster.

While there exists one cardiovascular centre for every 120,000 people in the United States, Asia has only one for 16 million people and Africa one for 33 million. Globally, 4.5 billion do not have access to such care.

In spite of the vast numbers of individuals and organizations scattered all over the world, which deploy relentless humanitarian efforts to tackle this problem, we cannot foresee any marked progress in the near future. It is therefore urgent that around 80 NGO’s currently specializing in pediatric cardiac care throughout the world (according to a recent survey in 92 countries), international organizations such as the WHO, the Word Bank or the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as the very supportive medical and pharmaceutical industries create a consensual approach and undertake globally agreed upon action to fight cardiovascular disease.

It was with this background the Global Forum on Humanitarian Medicine in Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery (GFHM) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland 2003, and its first conference was held in May 2003. The main purpose of the Global Forum on Humanitarian Medicine in Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery (GF) was to join all our forces in the struggle to close the gaping disparity between medical skills and technology of the North and those of the South, and thus make our contribution towards a more equitable world. The Forum discussed how to best cooperate and assist in capacity building within the health sector of the South, and is reflecting on the achievements and failures of the past in order to create the vision that would ensure the success of partnerships and collaborative efforts. It also identified sectors of pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery that must be developed in emerging countries in order to check the steady advancement of cardiovascular diseases.

Throughout the bi-annual GF meetings several projects and programs have been developed including education, research, quality improvement and training such as: the Global Heart Network platform and the International Quality Improvement Collaborative (IQIC) for Congenital Heart Disease: Improving Care in Low-and-Middle-Income Countries.

During the12th Global Forum on Humanitarian Medicine in Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery and the 3rd Euro-Asian Symposium of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, held in Athens, Greece, April 2018 the idea of launching a Journal was proposed due to lack of any Journal addressing specifically issues within this field. A Journal will allow better communications in the field of Humanitarian Cardiovascular Medicine and focus on articles based on humanitarian projects since the major journals are found to accept very few communications within the Humanitarian area as well as within the emerging clinical and basic research work which has just started coming out from these countries. The Journal of Humanitarian Cardiovascular Medicine will therefore soon be launched and be the official Journal of the Global Forum on Humanitarian Medicine in Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.

As the voice of Low-and Middle Income countries in the cardiovascular domain, this journal will report the results of good quality studies and reviews on any factor that may influence the outcome of patients with heart diseases. This journal is intended to appeal not only to professionals, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, but also to epidemiologists, nursing staff, allied professionals, managers, as well as basic scientists. The journal will be available on-line and free of charge.

Published contributions include editorials, reviews, full original papers, short reports, and letter to the Editor.