Foto bimba Missione Eritrea

Progetto Cuore Eritrea (Eritrea Hearth Project)

Total financial commitment for the project: 240,000 euros over four years

The project poses very complex managerial, logistical and organisational challenges involving a large number of national and international individuals. The project hopes to implement paediatric heart treatment and surgery in Eritrea, one of the poorest countries in the world (the seventh poorest country overall) according to both the WHO and the World Bank. The current global crisis has left this country even poorer. Located in the Horn of Africa, it is in a fragile and complex area with very few international organisations and institutions present in the country.
At present, the most important health project is supported by the Region of Tuscany with the construction of the Asmara Paediatric Hospital (Eritrea) together with a range of other health-related projects. Cuore Eritrea is currently the most important and well-equipped.
This programme is funded partly by the Region of Tuscany and CREAS/CNR (Italian National Healthcare Research Council) as well as the Fondazione Monasterio (Monastery Foundation holding company) and the "Un Cuore, Un Mondo" Association. The Cuore Eritrea project is perhaps the only international collaborative health project in the congenital heart disease sector financed and managed by several international teams. The project is in fact run by excellent heart surgery teams from Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
The teams organise two missions each every year and manage to operate on more than 100 children with heart disease.
The team from the Ospedale del Cuore Pasquinucci (Pasquinucci Heart Hospital) in Massa was the first to implant cardiac valves in children suffering from severe rheumatic heart disease. It is precisely this type of disease that we are trying to prevent.

This support for the Eritrean Health Authorities has not only been undertaken by specialist doctors and our Association, but also by the Italian cooperation in Asmara. They understand the importance of training courses and information for mothers and schools, with a simple prevention method of this type of disease (just a standard course of antibiotics when the child is at the infectious stage of the disease).

Cuore Eritrea is a truly humanitarian project - it couldn't be any other way when it operates in African countries. However, the various European medical teams are committed to supporting the professional growth of the small number of health workers present in the country, relying heavily on the first paediatricians that have recently completed their training at the University of Asmara (Eritrea).


The initial activation phase of the Cuore Eritrea project will be carried out over a period of around three years. At least two missions are planned for each year and are scheduled with the other teams involved in the project. A second phase is to be implemented from 2010.

Contributions: 2007 - 2008 - 2009 (first phase)
Budget already spent: 140,000 euros.

The budget is thanks to the generous contributions from the following organisations: "Un Cuore, Un Mondo" Association, Regione Toscana Cassa Risparmio di Carrara (Carrara Savings Bank Tuscany Region) and the Cooperativa Cavatori Gioia (Gioia Quarrymen Cooperative).

2010 (second phase)
Estimated budget: 100,000 euros.

Each year the Italian medical team undertake two missions to the Melkane Hiwet Hospital in Asmara (Eritrea) at an average cost of 70,000 euros each. The second phase of the project, which will initiate the development of training for Eritrean doctors and paramedics, will include the construction of a paediatric hospital in Asmara (Eritrea). Additionally, it will see the Tuscan Health Authority at the centre of all the collaborative health projects, in particular paediatric projects.

2009 Chatwin Prize (Premio Chatwin) – video awarded first place in the voluntary category

Directed by Massimo Bondielli

The video reportage of the trip devoted to the Cuore Eritrea Project won the 'Chatwin Prize - walking around the world', in the voluntary category.
The Chatwin Prize is the only cultural event dedicated to the great English traveller and writer. With the kind permission of his widow Elizabeth, it has the exclusive right of keeping Bruce Chatwin's memory and work alive through the promotion and diffusion of the culture of travel.

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