Who we are

OPERATION BRAVEHEART is the culmination of the combined efforts of Dr Lauraine Vivian and Claudia Naidu from the University of Cape Town, Dr John Lawrenson and Dr George Comitis from Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa to support children who are in need of cardiac surgery in the Western Cape Province and from elsewhere in South Africa. In Sydney, Australia we are working with Dr Cynthia Hunter (University of Sydney) and Dr Lawrence Tan (University of Western Sydney) to extend OPERATION BRAVEHEART into the Pacific Region.

Our Vision

OPERATION BRAVEHEART has a vision to provide insights that support Children in Cardiac Surgery and Recovery. This takes into consideration that heart surgery is very expensive and that highly skilled Surgeons, Doctors and Nurses are already overburdened and not able to ensure that children get the care they need before and after the operation. In addition they often do not know if the parents and family have properly understood the surgical procedure and what it means for their child’s future.

In carrying out research with children and their families OPERATION BRAVEHEART places a strong emphasis on communication across cultures so that we can find out the meaning that families give to the heart, their child’s illness, surgery, and recovery. In this research Dr Lauraine Vivian and Dr Cynthia Hunter utilize their skills as medical anthropologists to better understand the diverse cultural backgrounds that children and families come from and how they cope with cardiac care. Working as a multi-disciplinary team with doctors, nurses and ethnic communities we hope through this project to improve the quality of the pre- and post-op health care that children receive. It is critical to maintain the care that children need after cardiac surgery especially once they have returned to their homes and communities. Operation BraveHeart highlights these issues so that children in South Africa, Australia and other developed and developing nations can all have a chance to lead full lives and grow old.