In Senegal, many vulnerable families have limited access to medical treatment. But an important step in ensuring that local treatment is available for children with heart disease has been made: the first paediatric heart surgery centre was inaugurated in 2017. We have two main goals in this country: to improve local access to specialised care and to support the transfer of children with complex heart diseases for surgery to Europe.

Our projects in Senegal

Medical transfers

We help cure seriously ill children by transferring them to Europe for surgery. Today, Tdh is a leader in Europe, organising 40% of patient transfers. We also provide post-operative follow-up care and support children going back to school.

Surgical missions

Working with cardiologists at Lausanne University Hospital, we organise two surgical missions per year to Dakar. The purpose of these trips are to examine, treat and operate on sick children in their home country, while building the skills of local medical personnel. La Chaîne de l'Espoir, working in partnership with Tdh, recently built the Cuomo Centre for paediatric cardiac surgery at the Fann University Hospital in Dakar. This is a step towards ensuring patients can be treated locally, giving children with heart disease the opportunity to be operated on in their own country.

Training of medical personnel

We provide training in Switzerland to Senegalese medical personnel and nurses. In 2017, five nurses from Senegal’s Cuomo Centre have the opportunity to travel to Switzerland for the first time to receive specialised cardiology training at Geneva University Hospitals. This new approach to skills transfer aims at ensuring the quality of local health care.

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 2016

401 people

Expatriate / national staff

0 / 4

Budget 2017

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


Tdh began working and started the specialised care programme in Senegal.

Related publications

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

Related publications