Many families in Senegal have no access to health care. Now, however, a big step has been made so that children with heart diseases can be cared for in situ. The first centre dedicated to paediatric cardiac surgery was inaugurated in 2017. In this country, Terre des hommes aims at two main goals: to facilitate the access to specialized care on the spot and to ensure transfers to Europe for the more complex cases of children with heart disease.

Our projects in Senegal

Medical transfers

We enable the recovery of these seriously ill children by transferring them to Europe and to Switzerland to be given surgery there. Tdh is the leader in Europe for medical evacuations and organizes 40% of these transfers. On their return home, post-operative medical monitoring is ensured and the children are given support with their school reintegration.

Surgical missions

In collaboration with specialists in cardiology from the CHUV in Lausanne, every year we organize two surgical missions to Dakar. These assignments have the purpose of consultation, care and surgery of sick children in their own country, whilst strengthening the skills of the local staff. The Chain of Hope, an NGO with whom we work on the ground, has set up the Cuomo Centre, a division for paediatric heart surgery within the Fann University Hospital Centre in Dakar. This major advance makes it possible to increase the number of children operated on in their own country.

Training of medical personnel

We give training in Switzerland to Senegalese medical and nursing staff. In 2017, for the first time, five nurses from the Cuomo Centre were able to undergo specialized training in cardiology at the University Hospitals in Geneva. This transfer of skills enables strengthening the quality of care in Senegal.

Oumar had a number of heart problems, which made surgery in Senegal risky. Following an operation in Switzerland, he is now in excellent health.

Oumar, was born with several heart defects


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Terre des hommes in Senegal

Number of beneficiaries in 2018

723 people

Expatriate / national staff

0 / 4

Budget 2019

CHF 140’000.-

Programme areas


Local partners

Fann University Hospital, Albert Royer National Children's Hospital, Principal Hospital, Aristide Le Dantec Hospital, General De Grand Yoff Hospital, the Pasteur Institute, the Senegal passport office, Dr Santos's surgery (Air France doctor), the Swiss, French and Spanish embassies, Lausanne University Hospital, Aviation Sans Frontières


Where we work

Supported by


Start of the specialized care programme in Senegal.

Related publications

Making an Impact for Children: Annual Report 2018
Courage n°65: Mission: saving children's hearts
Specialised care programme - Annual Report 2017
Leaflet: Journey towards Life

Related publications