Technology and training to provide integral health care for children with heart conditions


Project description

Title: Technology and training to provide integral health care for children with heart conditions in Bolivia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Bolivia
Partner: Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA (Dräger)
Overall term: 2013 to 2016, completed

Bolivia. The arrival of medical equipment at the children’s hospital in La Paz was a major event. © GIZ


Every year, around 2,500 to 3,000 children are born with heart conditions in Bolivia. Due to the country’s high altitude, the probability of being born with a heart condition is twice as high (two in every 100) as in low-lying areas. In addition, there are acquired heart conditions such as rheumatic fever and Chagas disease; conditions typically associated with poverty that can be contracted as a result of inadequate preventative measures.

Within the Bolivian state health care system, there is a lack of experts trained to diagnose, treat and prevent heart conditions in children. In addition, state hospitals generally lack the necessary equipment. This leads to shortcomings in preventing, diagnosing and treating heart conditions, despite the fact that most children they affect could make a full recovery. Without access to the necessary care, these heart conditions usually result in disabilities or even death, especially in children and young people.


Health care provided in the Bolivian highlands to prevent, diagnose and treat children and young people with heart conditions has improved significantly.

Bolivia. With better care, children with heart conditions in Bolivia could lead a perfectly normal life. © GIZ


To sustainably improve health care for children with heart conditions in Bolivia in the long term, the Lübeck-based medical technology company Dräger and GIZ have entered into a development partnership. They provide medical equipment for the state children’s hospital in La Paz and help train medical staff to use technical devices and cardiac surgical techniques.

Staff at state health care institutions and paediatricians in the provinces and districts also receive training. As part of the project, 15 patients with heart conditions are being treated at the children’s hospital. The results will be incorporated into a best practice model. A specialist convention will also take place. The project’s long-term aim is to roll out a nationwide state health care programme for heart conditions.

In addition to Dräger and GIZ, project partners include Munich University Hospital (LMU Munich), which is providing two used cardiopulmonary bypass machines. The children’s hospital in La Paz is releasing its staff for training. The Bolivian Ministry of Health is creating the necessary public positionsfor the specialist doctors. The Fundación Cardioinfantil is responsible for the technical implementation and coordination of the project, while project progress is monitored by the Bolivian Chamber of Commerce.

The project will also work with the health authority SEDES (Servicio Departamental de Salud) and the Bolivian Ministry of Health.

Bolivia. To safeguard the sustainability of the project, actors from the state health care system, pictured here signing an agreement with GIZ in Bolivia, are involved from the outset. © GIZ

Results achieved so far

Since the project’s launch in August 2013, two important project milestones have been achieved. An agreement was reached between the Bolivian Ministry of Health and other key partners, whereby the various stakeholders acknowledge their responsibilities with a view to ensuring the success and sustainability of the project.

The equipment supplied by Dräger and LMU Munich arrived at the children’s hospital in February 2014, allowing the installation and familiarisation process to begin.

Additional information