un cuore per etiopia



THE PROJECT “A heart for Ethiopia”

The project was launched in November 2005 with the aim to promote the prevention, evaluation and treatment of patients with rheumatic or congenital heart disease in Ethiopia.

Our Association was founded in 2001 as Milena Onlus-ONG and now as “Save a Life4Life” ONG, operates mainly in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia in:
– offering free assistance to those who cannot access treatment
– providing professional training for Ethiopian medical and nursing staff
– promoting knowledge of heart disease in heart patients and their families


In Ethiopia the a rheumatic disease appears as acute inflammation that can affect the heart causing degeneration of the heart valves.

It is an endemic disease extremely widespread in Ethiopia that causes a very high presence of severe heart valve disease in young people.

Congenital heart disease is also present in these regions. They are similar in number to those present in Western countries, but mortality rate is higher because there is a lack of proper care: health care in Ethiopia is not free of charge and a very few can afford it, in addiction there aren’t structures specializing in cardiology.

We currently work in four clinics: in Addis Ababa and in the Tigray in Makallè, Adigrat and Aksum. Here we carry out screening of children and young people with heart problems, periodic clinical checks of cardiac patients and we distribute essential drugs (antibiotics, anticoagulants, etc.).


During the last years our activity has focused heavily on the prevention of rheumatic disease.

We have paid particular attention to the school age population by carrying out screening of different heart diseases with cardiological examinations, swabs, ECG and echocardiograms.

Our team includes cardiologists, nurses and logisticians who organize the missions in Ethiopia.  We leave for 4/5 missions each year during which we visit about 50 patients per day, with an average age of 25 years.

Since 2016 about 70 interventional cardiology procedures and 17 PMK (pacemaker) implantations have been performed by Italian operators at the hemodynamic laboratory of the Ayder Hospital in Makallè.

Serious heart patients cannot survive long without surgery.

There are no surgical cardiology facilities in Ethiopia so in 2008 we reached an agreement with Emergency for transferring to their Khartoum Salam Centre in Sudan those who are in need of surgical treatment.

Since then we organized transfers for more than 250 patients.


In our own little we try to do a lot, but we realize that this is always too little.

Giving continuity over the years to this project in such a difficult and often extreme context is fundamental.

Periodic checks, interventions and treatments are essential but not enough: we need to make aware people with heart disease of a proper lifestyle and personal hygiene as well as local institutions on the importance of ensuring access to free care.

That are the reasons for we need your help.

You can help us by supporting the work of the cardiology teams in their mission to Ethiopia.

Your contribution can help us to cover costs of travel, surgery, medication and long lasting support for children and young people with heart disease.

Give your support