Leaning in—this is the common posture we see in every hospital where we work. There are always parents leaning in toward their children, either out of concern or the desire to comfort. But just as often we see doctors and nurses leaning in toward patients, giving lifesaving care. We see our international medical team and local teams leaning in toward each other, sharing crucial techniques and skills.

Our heart program in Libya is young, and training runs the gamut from basic to complex. We work with young surgeons developing skills, cardiologists who don’t have a lot of experience with a wide range heart defects, and nurses who don’t yet have the experience to recognize patient symptoms and needed responses post-surgery.This medical trip to Basra, tucked down at the southern end of Iraq, looked very different.

This medical trip to Basra, tucked down at the southern end of Iraq, looked very different. In Basra, the local team is established, efficient, and accustomed to working together.

In the operating room, we worked with skilled, experienced heart surgeons who have already developed techniques in repairing diseased and damaged adult hearts. What they are now learning are the incredible complexities that come with hearts that didn’t develop in the correct way. 



They are learning to look at the body’s systems in different ways—learning to assess how much can be corrected without affecting other organs, like the lungs, in negative ways. They need to learn an entirely different approach to the human heart, making repairs to allow it to function as it should, not necessarily to make it look like it should.

The situation in Basra is different, in part, because you chose to lean into the children of Iraq nearly a decade ago.

You saw the children here, trapped in terrible circumstances because of wars they had no role in creating, and unable to get the care needed to keep them alive. You saw the value in training local doctors and nurses, in empowering Iraqis to take care of their own children. And when Iraq once again found itself at war, when ISIS stripped the country of stability and resources, you continued to lean in.

This is the posture that will take us forward in 2017. This is the posture that will continue to make a difference, not only for Iraq’s children but for the country.


 Keep leaning in for the children of Iraq and Lybia. Give today.

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