The Salam Centre is the core of our heart surgery programme: international cardiologists carry out screening sessions at the Paediatric Centres in Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Sierra Leone, at the Rehabilitation Centre in Iraq, and in the Surgical Centres in Afghanistan, identifying patients who need to be transferred to Sudan for heart surgery and guaranteeing the necessary follow-up for patients who have already been operated on. Where there is no EMERGENCY facility, screening is carried out in cooperation with the authorities of the host country.
The Salam Centre has become the point of reference for thousands of sick people from no less than 25 countries: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Jordan, Iraq, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Salam heart surgery centre is also a highly innovative model of humanitarian intervention. The aim of the project is to bring high-quality healthcare to Africa, at the same time as asserting the right of every human being to receive quality, free treatment. To discuss this model, EMERGENCY invited delegations of the Health Ministries of eight African countries in May 2008 to the island of San Servolo in the Venice lagoon, for the international “Building Medicine in Africa” seminar. Together with EMERGENCY, the representatives of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda talked about how to guarantee African citizens the right to good-quality, free healthcare. The conclusions of the seminar formed the “Manifesto for Medicine Based on Human Rights“, in which the signatories recognise the “right to be treated” as a “fundamental and inalienable right of every member of the human community”, and ask for a health service based on equality, quality and social responsibility. These principles were subsequently developed, leading to the definition of the ANME (African Network of Medical Excellence) in 2010 – a project involving 11 countries in the building of top quality medical centres, with the aim of strengthening the healthcare system on the African continent.
The aim of the ANME is to promote the construction of medical centres of excellence on the African continent, following the model of the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery. ‘Absence of charge’ and ‘Excellence of treatment’ are the foundations of the Model of Healthcare that the members of the ANME intend to build. Absence of charge is a fundamental prerequisite so that everyone can have prompt access to the treatment they need. Excellence of treatment guarantees high clinical standards of each intervention and promotes the training of qualified medical personnel, along with the development of scientific research and local health systems.