Press Release: International Children’s Heart Foundation Continues Babyheart Mission in Iraq!

Iraq attacks

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (August 14, 2013)   Following the close of Ramadan with the Eids holidays there were a rash of bombings across Iraq. These attacks occurred in cities such as Nasiriyah, in the southern part of the country, where the International Children’s Heart Foundation is running an extended medical mission to operate on children with congenital heart defects free of charge. In the face of these devastating attacks, our lifesaving mission work has just been extended in Iraq. Despite sectarian violence and the complete withdrawal of US forces ICHF strives to bring the best surgical care for children in Iraq. Below is a firsthand account from ICHF medical director/founder, Dr. Bill Novick.

Yesterday we were all at the Guest House, day off during the Eids holidays, some were reading (me), some were watching TV, some were studying and around 5 p.m. there was a very loud explosion, rattled the Guest House. We were about 6 blocks from one of the two car bombs that struck Nasiriyah. We are all fine, and operating today. It is a real shame that both sides of Islam cannot seem to reach across the divide and realize that it will take them both, Sunni and Shia to rebuild and make Iraq the country it should be for their children. 

Our program for a Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship Training program was approved by the Federal Ministry of Health for $930,000. The program is a minimum of 3 years and is funded by a Grant from the Ministry of Health. Our Pediatric Cardiac Improvement program was approved for a second year with a grant for $1,540,000. Both grants were provided by the Iraqi Ministry of Health with a desire to improve the overall healthcare of its children by supporting ICHF.

Since 2010 ICHF Babyheart medical teams have operated on 508 children on 28 trips.

ICHF is also making strides to improve overall healthcare for women and new mothers. ICHF facilitated the involvement of 2 individuals from Massachusetts General Hospital to assess the high Maternal perinatal mortality and neonatal mortality; one a pediatrician who is a neonatologist and the other was a nurse practitioner in high risk obstetrics. They stayed a week at the Hospital for Women and Children and will submit their results to the Regional Health Care Directorate on how to improve this situation.

The International Children’s Heart Foundation is a non-profit medical charity dedicated to providing lifesaving surgical care to children with congenital heart defects in developing countries around the world.  Since 1993, more than 6,500 children in 30 different countries have received surgical care and thousands of other children have benefited from the education and training provided to the in-country medical staff during these humanitarian trips.

For more information about the International Children’s Heart Foundation, and how you can help support their efforts, visit or call 901-869-4243. If you wish to interview Dr. Novick he can be reached at .


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With close to 1,000 cardiac surgeries to be performed in over 40 trips to 15 countries scheduled for 2013, it is going to be a challenging year.