Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) kill almost 21 million people each year (WHO estimate) – 82% of whom are in the Developing World – and by 2010, it has become the leading cause of death in these countries. In Egypt, heart disease claims the lives of approximately 210,000 people every year (WHOSIS, 2009). Risk factors related to heart disease including obesity, smoking, diabetes and hypertension continue to rise at an alarming rate in this part of the world. This necessitates concerted efforts including innovative ideas related to treatment, training and research. In recognition of the significant global burden of the disease, numerous national and international calls for action have been issued over the past few years to help reduce its massive morbidity and mortality toll.
Egypt runs a pluralistic healthcare system. The existing National Health Insurance program, despite significant recent efforts to improve it, still covers less than 60% of the population with mostly basic primary services. 55% of healthcare financing comes from private sources, mostly out-of-pocket household spending. In a country where 25% of the population earn less than 1.4 USD/year, there is little doubt that a significant number of people simply cannot afford any sort of healthcare. Moreover, Upper Egypt still suffers from a more pronounced deficiency of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services compared to metropolitan Cairo and the Delta region. Tertiary cardiovascular services are virtually absent south of Souhag and specialized pediatric cardiac centers are nonexistent south of Cairo.
The Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation (MYF) – an Egyptian registered NGO Charity – was founded in 2008 by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, Professor Ahmed Zewail and Ambassador Mohamed Shaker to address this pressing demand by establishing the Aswan Heart Centre.
1. Offering state-of-the-art medical services to the Egyptian people, particularly the underprivileged and vulnerable age-groups. All services are free of charge.
2. Training a generation of young Egyptian doctors, nurses and scientists at the highest international standards.
3. Advancing basic science and applied research as an integral component of the program and promoting biomedical research in Egypt.
MYF Board of Trustees and AHC Executive Board are fully aware that establishing and creating a center of excellence that can fulfill these objectives is a challenging task and do not underestimate the challenges. However, we are confident that with strong financial support, effective management, identification of existing local talents nurtured by appropriate academic leadership and tailored career development plans and extensive international connections, we can achieve all our goals.