Piedmont Cardiologist Starts Non-Profit to Resolve Cardiac Crisis in Ethiopia

Piedmont Cardiologist Starts Non-Profit to Resolve Cardiac Crisis in Ethiopia

Fayetteville, Ga. (December 13, 2023) – Piedmont interventional cardiologist Tesfaye Telila, M.D., is on a mission to resolve what can be deemed a cardiac crisis in his homeland of Ethiopia. As the population in that country adopted a more western lifestyle, the incidence of heart disease has risen drastically. Knowing this “epidemiologic shift” and the increase in premature deaths due to heart attacks and strokes, Dr. Telila founded the nonprofit organization, Heart Attack Ethiopia, to raise the needed funds to raise awareness, and train more interventional cardiologists, in a country where only five cardiac surgeons exist for 120 million people. According to research published in ScienceDirect, more than 15,000 patients are on the waitlist for cardiac surgery in Ethiopia.

“The mission of our organization is to establish a sustainable cardiovascular service line in Ethiopia,” Dr. Telila said. “In this first phase of our intervention, we are recruiting volunteers to provide mission-based lifesaving heart attack care at currently available institutions in Ethiopia and eventually establish a more comprehensive Cardiovascular Center of Excellence that will be operated by the local healthcare professionals and that is fully accessible to everyone in need of emergency lifesaving cardiovascular care irrespective of their socioeconomic background”

Dr. Telila is also working to establish a collaborative common ground between the Ethiopian government and the State of Georgia to build and virtually integrate cardiovascular centers in Ethiopia with cardiac centers in Georgia with the aim of alleviating the critical shortage of trained cardiac professionals. Currently, the country of Ethiopia has no established primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) center to provide a timely treatment for patients with heart attacks. A somewhat interrupted lifesaving cardiac care is only provided at four local centers in Addis Ababa, a city of over 7 million people. While one is a charity, patients at the other three centers must have the needed funds to pay out of pocket for their heart attack care if they are lucky to get to the center on time despite the lack of EMS services. 

“Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in the world and 75 to 80 percent of all cardiovascular deaths occur in the low and middle income countries. So, incidents that people would survive here in the U.S. are mostly fatal in Ethiopia” Dr. Telila said. “We can make a big impact in the world by collaborating with healthcare systems like Piedmont, medical device companies and industries, recruiting volunteers to save lives while also expanding our footprints internationally”

Dr. Telila received his medical degree from Addis Ababa University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia before moving to the U.S. where he completed his internal medicine residency and Cardiovascular fellowships. He received his fellowship in interventional and structural cardiology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisc. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, Interventional Cardiology, Nuclear Cardiology and Adult Echocardiography. He now treats patients at Piedmont Fayette and Piedmont Newnan hospitals.

To learn more about cardiovascular services at Piedmont, visit piedmont.org/heart. To learn more about Heart Attack Ethiopia and how you can help, visit heartattackethiopia.org.

Original article www.piedmont.org

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