About 1.35 million babies are born with congenital heart disease each year globally. Most of these are expected to lead normal, productive lives if they are treated in time. However, 90% of babies born with congenital heart disease live in regions where medical care is inadequate or unavailable. The privilege of early diagnosis and timely intervention is restricted to only those born in developed countries. Added to the burden of congenital heart disease is rheumatic heart disease, which remains a global health problem in many low-income and middle-income countries. Providing optimal care for all these children is a daunting task, and requires funds and proper planning at various levels of the health care system. This article describes the burden of pediatric heart disease, including lacunae in the current state, as well as challenges and opportunities for providing optimal care to this large population of children.
Keywords: congenital heart disease; developing countries; rheumatic heart disease.