Prof. Afksendiyos Kalangos, © arChive Visual Storytellers 

Prof. Afksendiyos Kalangos is a Greek-Swiss cardiovascular surgeon who saved the life of many human beings. Former Chairman of the Clinic for Cardiovascular Surgery at Geneva University Hospital, he is currently based in Athens, Greece. 
In 2016, he was appointed Chairman of the Department of Pediatric and congenital Cardiovascular Surgery at Mitera Hospital before joining at the beginning of this year, the IASO Children’s Hospital.

As a scientist, how do you explain the miracle of Greece during this pandemic?

I think this miracle is due to the fact that the government reacted very fast after the first cases of coronavirus by closing borders, schools and locking down all the social life. At the same time, the success of our awareness campaign reinforced the application of those measures initiated by the government.

How important was the role of Prof. Sotiris Tsiordas the spokesman for the gov’t re. the epidemic?

Prof. Sotiris Tsiordas is a great specialist of infectiology at the Medical School in Athens. As the head of the health minister committee of experts on contagious diseases, he and his team managed very effectively the coronavirus crisis.
For me, he fulfilled the Greek society’s emotional and practical needs for trust and made the people respect the measures. 

Before Covid-19, the new tech hype was AI (artificial intelligence). But data reporting, telemedicine and conventional diagnostic were the real tools to have an impact. So where should investments go? And how can AI help a future pandemic, for instance?

I am very in favor for artificial intelligence. It is true that data reporting, telemedicine and conventional diagnostic were the real tools in this pandemic. However, we cannot neglect the fact that artificial intelligence will become increasingly important in the healthcare sector for different reasons: innovations in medicine push us to evolve into a new healthcare concept which is personalized medicine. Our current system needs to become more efficient and our healthcare professionals need to be more productive by collecting and using the real world data we can develop a learning healthcare system able to play also an important role in managing healthcare cause in a more sustainable way. I think all this potential future changes will eliminate or decrease the weaknesses we faced or we are facing during this pandemic.

Many of us Dr. Kalangos miss hugging our parents and grand-parents, which are over 65 years old. We’re only humans after all. What do you advice us to do?

My advice is to be very careful. They have and we have to utilize the face mask every time they or we go out of the house. At home, the social distancing cannot function as a preventive measure. We have to be aware that our parents and grand-parents who are over 65 years old and especially if some of them are incapacitated by chronic illnesses are in a higher risk of death in case of coronavirus infection.

Born in Aghios Stephanos, Istanbul in 1960; Prof. Kalangos founded in 1998 the charity association Coeurs pour tous (Hearts for All) and the Kalangos foundation in Geneva (2002), before co-founding the Global Heart Network Foundation in Delaware, USA in 2011. 

The Kalangos foundation has 3 fundamental goals:

  1. To treat children suffering from congenital and acquired cardiac diseases all around the world
  2. To improve equipment and infrastructure of some existing hospitals in the developing countries to allow them to operate sick children
  3. To train the medical and paramedical health professionals of those developing countries through training scholarships for example. This third goal represents the sustainable development in the medical field especially in the cardio-vascular field. 

Prof. Kalangos and his team members under the umbrella of the Kalangos Foundation have achieved since 1998: more than 15’000 operations on poor children in over 20 developing countries; over 100 professionals trained including cardiac surgeons, technicians, nurses, etc.; the opening of 5 Pediatric Cardiac Centers in Mauritius, Georgia, Mozambique, Serbia and another one under construction in Cameroon.

A direct donation can be made through the Kalangos Foundation’s website and total transparency on how the funds are used will be provided to any donor. 

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