Congenital heart disease in Kenya is a serious problem in children, minimal health care in rural areas and a lack of specialist medical help mean that it often goes undiagnosed. Paediatric cardiac surgery is only available in Nairobi and only in a very small number of hospitals.

In 2001 MEAK approached Professor David Anderson, one of the UK’s foremost paediatric cardiac surgeons who agreed to work in Kenya on an on-going basis with voluntary teams from The Evelina Children’s Hospital at Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust. The first mission took place in January 2002 – then in 2003 MEAK provided a heart-lung machine to The Aga Khan hospital in Mombasa – and that same year MEAK carried out the first ever open-heart surgery in Kenya outside the capital.

In 2009 MEAK donated further heart and lung pumps together with blood heater/cooler units to Kenyatta National hospital in Nairobi and The Mombasa hospital, Mombasa.

To date, MEAK has carried out 21 surgical heart missions - and operated on over 440 children. It has been estimated that around 35% of all paediatric heart surgery carried out in Kenya is done by MEAK.