Reference Point Interview: Part 2 of 2 about EMERGENCY

Eric Talbert, Executive Director of EMERGENCY USA, recently appeared on the TV show, Reference Point in a two-part series discussing the work of EMERGENCY. The second segment on KMVT featured an interview with host Dave Kocharhook regarding the open-heart surgery in Sub-Saharan Africa and the role of EMERGENCY in providing life-saving surgery to children suffering from rheumatic heart disease.

Eric discusses the mission of EMERGENCY‘s Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan as well as the important discovery that many cases of rheumatic heart disease in children as young as 6 years old are caused by untreated strep throat. This realization has informed  EMERGENCY’s strategy to focus efforts on providing both free-of-charge heart surgery for those patients already suffering from rheumatic heart disease at The Salam Center, but also making penicillin widely available to treat strep throat early on and prevent more advanced conditions. The following is an exchange with Reference Point host Dave Kocharhook, as he inquires about how EMERGENCY personnel first identified the origin of this disease.

Dave: “So tell us about how you were able to recognize the problem.”

Eric: “Well the medical team was able to diagnose this and say, ‘what’s going on is strep throat.’ Common enough, I’ve had it a few times. Very common disease for children, and in the west this used to be the number one killer of children a hundred years ago. But with the advent of penicillin, with adequate distribution and education as well as supplies, it’s virtually gone. People here still get strep throat, but it doesn’t go untreated, which is what’s happening in Sub-Saharan Africa.”


To learn more about EMERGENCY efforts in Sudan, join us for a free online conversation July 22nd at 11am PT/ 2pm ET about “Health in the Future of Sudan.” If you would like to support life-saving cardiac surgery at The Salam Center, click here to donate now.

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