Open Heart on HBO

HBO airs “Open Heart” the 2013 Oscar-nominated Documentary featuring EMERGENCY’s Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan

HBO began airing “Open Heart” on October 14, 2013. Directed by Kief Davidson, the documentary follows a group of Rwandan children to Sudan to receive cardiac surgery. Global and economic inequalities take center stage in this academy award-nominated documentary.

“Open Heart” will air multiple times throughout October, and the film is available via HBO Go and HBO On Demand until January 5, 2014. Click here for listings and details.

Click here to download a free study guide for Open Heart provided by the San Francisco Film Society.

OpenHeart Poster 2On October 14th, HBO premiered the Oscar-nominated documentary “Open Heart”, a powerful and touching story that follows eight children from Rwanda as they travel to Sudan to receive medical treatment for rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which develops from untreated strep throat. Far from their families and 2,500 miles from home, the children travel to the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, Africa’s only hospital that performs high-standard cardiac surgery free of charge.

The Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery is run by EMERGENCY, an international non-profit organization founded in 1994 by the Italian war surgeon, Gino Strada and is based in Milan, Italy. In 2008, the organization established EMERGENCY USA based in San Francisco.

Although RHD is nearly non-existent among children in the US today, it continues to affect the lives of 18 million people in Africa, many of whom are children and who urgently need medical attention. Despite the fact that RHD kills 300,000 people per year, the Salam Center is the only facility in Africa that provides cardiac surgery free of charge. Funding for the Salam Center comes primarily from private donations (approximately 70%) as well as the Sudanese government (approximately 30%).

In addition to running the Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, EMERGENCY has also operated in high-risk and war-torn areas where many organizations don’t dare to enter including Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and more.

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