Ghanaian co-founder of German Heart Center ranked among top 10 in cardiac surgery

The German Heart Center, Berlin, co-foundered by Ghanaian world renowned Senior Consultant Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, Professor Charles Yankah, has been ranked among the top 10 world best hospitals in cardiac surgery.

This is contained in a global survey of medical professionals published in the October 8, 2021 edition of the Newsweek, the American weekly news magazine, that ranked 150 world acclaimed heart centres.

The Centre, Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin, was founded in 1986 as a supra-regional high-tech heart center to serve all Germans and the global community in general.

The centre is globally acclaimed for performing, among others, artificial heart programmes, especially for children, heart transplant and non-invasive telemetric rejection monitoring, heart valve replacement without opening the chest, key-hole heart surgery, performing 5,000 heart operations annually, of which 3,500 are open heart procedures.

“The ranking as a top ten global centre of excellence is a great achievement and a reward for the dedicated heart teams and leadership of the Berlin Heart Centre for their hard work to offer the best treatment and care for their national and international patients and to sharing their clinical experiences with Africa and around the world,” Prof Yankah told the Ghanaian Times by phone Friday.

“It is great reward for the hard work we have been doing over the years,” Prof. Yankah said, adding “I am retired, but active in providing on-site training programmes in Ghana and online education (23 webinar2020/21) for physicians around the world, especially to Africans who wish to become cardiologists and heart surgeons,” the Cape Coast-born world renowned heart surgeon said.

“Cardiovascular diseases are prominent, especially in Africa, I hope to train more doctors to face the challenges we are anticipating in future; we have to train new generation of cardiologists to prepare for the future,” he added.

Prof. Yankah observed that there was lack of capacity and funding for cardiovascular diseases, especially with children saying “We believe the governments will be aware of this precarious situation and support us do more education, skills and technology transfer to Africa and the world over.”

“I congratulate the current Medical Director of the Center, Professor Volkmar Falk and Director of Cardiothoracic since 2014 for this achievement,” said Prof Yankah.

Prof Yankah is the Chief executive officer/Founder of Global Heart Forum and President of PASCaTS/Global Heart Care.

Among his works, Prof Yankah in 1994 led a team to perform double organ transplant of the heart and kidney. In 2001 in partnership with Dr. Willie Koen initiated a bridge to heart transplantation programme in South Africa at the Christian Barnard Memorial hospital, Cape Town.

Since 2005 initiated multi-institutional heart team from Barcelona, Berlin, Bloemfontein, Boston, Cape Town, Durban, Erlangen centres to facilitate cardiovascular educational programmes, including hands-on-echo courses.

In 2010, he undertook a cardiac surgical mission in Ghana at the Military Hospital during which he performed an emergency surgery on UN soldier from Liberia, with chest/heart injury. The hospital is now commissioned as UN referral hospital in West Africa.

Prof. Yankah led a team from the center and with support of the German government helped established the University of Cape Coast Echocardiography Training Centre, the first of its kind, to train experts to use ultra sound technology, to investigate the heart, to help in diagnosis.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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