Doctor Harry Bimbh, of Adcroft Surgery in Trowbridge, is preparing to travel to South Africa next month for a humanitarian project that will see 2,000 children screened for signs of early heart disease.
The project, which is called Echo in Africa and has been organised by the British Society of Echocardiography, is aimed at diagnosing children with rheumatic heart disease so they can be treated.
Dr Bimbh, who has been a GP at Adcroft Surgery for 15 years, heads up the cardiology service at the practice and will be travelling to a hospital in Cape Town in early September for a week as part of the project.
The 48-year-old, who lives in Westbury, is one of a number of volunteers visiting Africa to carry out echocardiograms (ECGs) during the course of the project, which began in July and continues until October.
Dr Bimbh said: “In areas with severe social and economic challenges there is an issue with children getting rheumatic fever, which leads to rheumatic heart disease – something that can be treated if detected early.
“The British Society of Echocardiography sent an email out at Christmas asking for volunteers for the project and there was a lot of interest. I will be going out there as part of a team to screen children from the township.
“Those who we catch at an early age can be treated with penicillin, while those cases where it’s more advanced will be able to get surgery as part of the project.
“There is no point screening children for rheumatic heart disease unless you can do something about it and I wouldn’t have gone out there if that was the case, but this will really make a difference.”
Adcroft Surgery is the only GP practice in the west of England with the ability to carry out an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound scan of the heart providing accurate pictures.
Dr Bimbh added: “It’s very rewarding. As part of the project we have been fundraising at the surgery for Echo in Africa, and anyone who wishes to donate can still do so by going on the website.”
To donate or find out more, log on to www.echoinafrica. azurewebsites.net