(WMC-TV) - A team of physicians from Memphis and elsewhere are on a mission to operate on children around the world with heart defects.
The Memphis-based group not only operates on children with heart defects, but they go to developing countries and train local surgeons and medical staff to do the same.
They have been doing this life-saving work for nearly 20 years.
The International Children's Heart Foundation is a team of medical specialists going on dozens of missions around the world every year to save children with heart defects.
According to Executive Director Terry Carter, about one in 100 children are born with congenital heart disease and many of them are in developing countries.
The ICHF was founded in 1993.
"The International Heart Foundation is really a volunteer organization," said Carter.
They do all of the surgeries for free and in nearly 20 years, they have saved 6,000 children in 30 countries.
"At least three missions ongoing simultaneously overlapping in different parts of the world," explained Carter. "We're in Honduras, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Paraguay, in eastern Europe. We're in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, North Africa, middle east, we're in Egypt, Iraq and Libya," said Carter.
And what is more valuable is that the team of 12 train doctors in those countries to perform the surgeries themselves.
"So our ideal goal is within a two to three period, that particular area of a country will have a self sustaining program," said Carter.
You can learn more about the International Children's Heart Foundation by clicking here.