Trainings and transmission of knowledge in surgery was one on the core values set by Pr. Carpentier when he created his Foundation. In 1987, he was called by Dr. Duong Quang Trung who worked at the Public Health Service of Saigon. Dr. Duong was very concerned about the health situation of Vietnamese children regarding cardiac issues; malformations and disease were numerous and the government did not have financial means or the skills to solve the problems. “More than 10,000 children die every year from cardiac malformations in Vietnam. We need your help” Dr. Duong told Pr. Carpentier.
Following this call to help the Vietnamese population, Pr. Carpentier started his enterprise which of the Heart Institute dedicated to performing surgeries for children and also to transmitting the skills and knowledge needed to perform the surgeries to Vietnamese doctors.
The first training started in 1987 and provided a training to 12 Vietnamese doctors and nurses. This enabled them to perform a surgery on a small pig to begin. Later, they travelled to France and to the Broussais Hospital in which Pr. Carpentier was Chief of Cardiac Surgery; here the entire team followed a complete 24-months-training in cardiac surgery while the Heart Institute was being built in Saigon. When they came back to Vietnam in 1991, they practiced their first open-heart intervention on a Vietnamese child, assisted by their French counterparts. The instruction given by Pr. Carpentier to the French teams was clear: “Assist them, but don’t do anything yourself.”
In 1994, the Vietnamese teams were able to operate entirely on their own and did not need any further assistance.
Continue the transfer of knowledge:
- Overview of cardiology and echocardiography: Since 1992, over 3,300 doctors from more than 50 institutions in Ho Chi Minh City and from 40 provinces across Vietnam were trained in echocardiography and cardiology at the Institute. All in all, more than 47 training sessions were provided to Vietnamese doctors in a 4-month period.
- Of cardiac surgery: In 1998, the Foundation began training other hospitals in the country to alleviate a large number of patients from the Heart Institute due to the dramatic growing demand. Thanks to these trainings, nine centers continually provide cardiac surgery in Vietnam, which has led to more than 43,000 patients saved.
- Of interventional cardiology: In 2008, more than 15 hospitals in Vietnam began skills transmission, which now able to practice and use these required skills.
Toward international cooperation:
Since 2012, the Heart Institute has trained numerous doctors from various medical specialties through regular seminars and training committees. Thanks to the cooperation of different NGOs such as Hope Chains alongside the Heart Institute trainings, children suffering from heart issues have been saved, especially at the Cardiology Center of Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There are also 3 sessions of trainings hosted by the Heart Institute per year, which are dedicated to cardiac valve surgery education for surgeons across South-East Asia. Most recently, a team of Senegalese surgeons were trained in pediatric cardiac surgery, which contributed to the opening of the CUOMO Cardio-Pediatric Surgery Center in Dakar, Senegal. This training may also continue renewal with a Malian team from Bamako. Finally, their Continuous Medical Education program organizes yearly conferences on different cardiac themes with surgeons from different countries, specifically Vietnam.