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HealthMin Rafila asks for extension of programme allowing corrective surgeries of congenital heart defects in children

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Alexandru Rafila

The Minister of Health, Alexandru Rafila, requested, on Tuesday, the extension of a Romanian-Italian cooperation agreement in the field of pediatric heart surgery through which doctors from the two countries operate, in Romanian hospitals, children with congenital heart defects.

"Alexandru Rafila, Minister of Health, requested for the first steps to be taken for the extension of the cooperation agreement in the field of pediatric heart surgery concluded between the Ministry of Health, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato Italy, the Bambini Cardiopatici nel Mondo Association from Italy and the Inima Copiilor Association from Romania, on the occasion of a meeting he had with the representatives of the Italian side, the coordinators and the medical staff from the health units involved in this programme from Romania, which took place on January 25, 2022, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health," reads a press release of the Ministry of Health.

According to the same source, Rafila underscored the need for the sustainability of this programme, so that, by 2025, teams of Romanian specialists capable of performing all types of cardiac surgeries necessary for children in Romania will be set up, Agerpres.ro informs.

"In their turn, the Italian specialists underscored the importance of the agreement with the Ministry of Health and voiced readiness to expand training and technical assistance programmes and other pediatric pathologies in which there is a shortage of specialists," the same press release said.

The cooperation programme, which began in 2013 and ends on July 31, 2022, has two components: one in which teams of Italian and Romanian doctors operate on children with congenital heart defects in hospitals in Romania, and the other - training in Italy of the medical staff from Romania in the field of pediatric heart surgery.

The surgeries are performed at the "Marie Curie" Emergency Clinical Hospital for Children and its branches in Iasi, Cluj Napoca and Timisoara.

Since 2013 and until now, 1,462 such surgeries have been carried out under the cooperation programme, according to the hospitals' reports. In Romania, approximately 2,500-3,000 children are born annually with heart problems, according to the Ministry of Health.

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