Abdullah Rawih: “Yemen Needs More Than 20 Specialized Heart Center” [Archives:2001/37/Health]

September 10 2001

Heart diseases are among the most fatal diseases brought up by the modern civilization. Medical reports by some specialized medical magazines indicate that heart diseases are the cause number one of deaths, particularly in the advanced world.
Accordingly, treatment of heart diseases require great competence which can not be provided by developing countries due to their inability to establish specialized heart treatment centers. However, individual initiatives could sometimes be tantamount to these of governments. Professor Abdullah Raweh, who works as a heart surgeon in Italy, is a perfect illustration of this tendency. Moreover, Dr. Raweh is the Chairman of Amenah Medical Society for Heart Diseases which coordinates with some hospitals in Italy the opportunity of providing free treatment for Yemeni patients suffering from heart diseases.
Yasser Mohammed Ahmed of Yemen Times met Dr. Raweh, Here are some and excerpts of the interview:
Q: Can you introduce yourself to Yemen Times’ readers?
A: Firstly, I’d like to thank Yemen Times for this interview. Regarding my personal biography, I was born in Taiz. In 1984, I joined the medical college of Bologna University in Italy. I got a doctorate degree with distinction in heart surgery and blood circulation diseases. After I obtained my doctorate degree, I started working for some private and public hospitals in Italy and the Netherlands. In fact, working in those hospitals gave me the chance to meet many professionals in heart surgery from all over the world. Similarly, during my work in Italy, I established excellent relations with some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) along with many social and political personalities.
Q: How could you manage your relations with the different organizations there in a way that could help heart patients in Yemen?
A: This is a very important question and I would like to highlight one of the medical missions I set up. Under my supervision, an Italian medical team managed to come to al-Thawra Hospital in Sana’a with the objective of conducting several heart surgeries. Eleven of them were performed on patients with serious heart problems. The team’s members were so eager to do these operations as they came to know the extent of suffering from these patients. We used an up-to-date equipment brought by the team from Italy and very sophisticated medical techniques were used when performing the mentioned operations. In addition, no artificial hearts or lungs were used during these operations and this raised therefore the success rates and fast healing of the operated patients.
Q: Are there any kind of cooperation with regard to the training of Yemeni surgeons?
A: Besides providing treatment to patients, we have taken into consideration training the Yemeni cadres involved in this field. Principally, we have agreed with the Yemeni officials to send a team of Italian surgeons to Yemen once every three months and to grant 10 scholarships aimed at training a complete medical team.
Q: Regarding Amenah Society…How has originated the idea of its establishment?
A: Amenah Society was established at the end of the year 1997 as the result of death of my mother because of a heart attack. My mother could have been saved if she was provided with a proper medical treatment. Following this dreadful experience, I started thinking about the establishment of a society for helping heart patients in my homeland. In fact, the creation of the Amenah Society, which was named after my mother, came in a desire to help the sons of my motherland who need health care. We paid a particular attention to children with heart diseases.
The first group of 13 children was sent in Italy at the end of the year 1997 and was followed by other groups for a total of 332 heart patients. The last groups included adult heart patients as well as patients suffering from blood-related diseases. The selection of those needing treatment in European countries comes after screening the patients at the society in addition to receiving the patients referred to us by the competent medical authorities. Furthermore, we are also investigating with close attention the applications in terms of financial abilities of the applicants since the poor patients are prioritized.
Q: What are the future plans of the society?
A: We intend to go ahead with providing treatment for heart patients and enhancing our relations with international non-governmental organizations. Similarly, I call the concerned responsible at the Ministry of Health to cooperate with us by offering the necessary facilities to the society. On the same level, the society intends to establish heart treatment centers in different governorates in cooperation with the World Health Organization and the Emirates Red Crescent Association chaired by Sheikh Hamadan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Within the framework of the different activities of the society, we opened the door for providing treatment for the aging heart patients.
Q: Any final comment you may have?
A: I would like to thank the Italian Embassy in Sana’a for its cooperation and for the facilities offered to the patients in Italy. Similarly, I would like to call all individuals and organizations able of helping patients not to spare any effort in this battle.