If we develop local experts,
they can help thousands of children with heart disease.

Our Mission

To save the lives of children and young adults in Ethiopia by improving prevention and treatment of heart disease.


Friends of CHFE is an initiative of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, a nonprofit organization.


The Friends of the Children’s Heart Fund of Ethiopia (FCHFE) was founded by Dr. Vib Kshettry, a cardiac surgeon at the Minneapolis Heart Institute in the U.S.

Having performed volunteer heart surgeries in the developing world for more than 25 years, Dr. Kshettry knew that the key to helping children was to develop a long-term, sustainable treatment program in Ethiopia with highly trained Ethiopian doctors, nurses, and technicians.

2010 Dr. Kshettry was approached by members of the Ethiopian community in Minneapolis to help a 12-year-old child in Ethiopia with severe heart valve disease needing surgery.  Dr. Kshettry traveled to Addis Ababa with a cardiac surgery team from the Minneapolis Heart Institute to successfully perform life-saving surgeries for children and young adults, including the 12-year-old child.

From this initial visit, Dr. Kshettry partnered with the Children’s Heart Fund of Ethiopia (CHFE), an NGO based in Addis Ababa and founded by Dr. Belay Abegaz, a pediatric cardiologist. Dr. Abegaz and CHFE had recently built a non-profit cardiac center in Addis Ababa. The heart hospital was equipped and ready for surgeries, but there was no one trained in Ethiopia to perform them.

2012 The Ethiopian government selected physicians, nurses, and technicians to be trained as Ethiopia’s first pediatric cardiac surgery team.

2012 to present: Ethiopian cardiac surgery team members traveled to Bangalore, India to be trained, supported by Friends of CHFE.

2012 to present: Cardiac care teams from Minneapolis continue to travel to Ethiopia to perform surgeries, assess training needs and develop local-surgical skills.

2014 FCHFE supported a research project by a team of physicians at six cardiac sites in Ethiopia, to learn what types of heart disease are found there, and particularly what the burden of heart disease was in children. The results were shared with the Ministry of Health, to improve understanding of Ethiopia’s needs and possible treatment gaps.

2016 FCHFE began support for the development of a rheumatic heart disease prevention program, designed by a team of Ethiopian physicians in collaboration with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health.

2017 The Ethiopian pediatric cardiac surgery team completed their training and returned from Bangalore to begin performing surgeries in Addis Ababa.

image of Cardiac Centre - Ethiopia

image of Cardiac Centre - EthiopiaChildren’s Heart Fund of Ethiopia (Ethiopia)

Children’s Heart Fund of Ethiopia is an NGO based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, dedicated to raising awareness and enabling treatment of heart disease in children. CHFE planned and constructed a cardiac care center and hospital that opened in Addis in 2009, enabling children to receive cardiac surgery for the first time in Ethiopia. Until 2017, visiting surgical teams from outside Ethiopia performed the surgeries, as there was no one trained in pediatric cardiac surgery in Ethiopia. Friends of CHFE supported the training in India of Ethiopia’s first pediatric cardiac surgery team over five years. The Ethiopian team returned to the cardiac hospital in Addis Ababa in mid-2017 to begin performing surgeries for the first time.


Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation logoMinneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (U.S.)

Friends of CHFE operates as a program of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization in the U.S. Dr. Vib Kshettry, founder of Friends of CHFE, is Director of the Cardiac Surgery Training Program and Professor of Surgery at the Minneapolis Heart Institute (MHI), affiliated with Abbott Northwestern Hospital, whose cardiac surgery and cardiology programs are among the top rated programs in the U.S.  Dr. Kshettry and a cardiac surgery team from MHI have made multiple trips to Ethiopia to perform surgeries and work side by side with Ethiopian colleagues to advance their training. They have given hundreds of hours of work as volunteers during their vacation time.


NH Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences logoNarayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences (India)

Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences (NICS), Bangalore has been rated among the best private cardiac hospitals in India. NICS has a 1,000-bed heart hospital – one of the largest in the world — performing 25 heart surgeries a day. Dr. Kshettry has visited Narayana hospital many times over the past 20+ years, working with NICS’s founder Dr. Devi Shetty, to train a generation of cardiac surgery teams in India.

NICS generously agreed to train the Ethiopian pediatric cardiac surgical team. Friends of CHFE supported costs of the team during training. The Ethiopia team has learned how to treat children living in poverty in a developing country setting.


Addis Ababa University logoAddis Ababa University School of Medicine (Ethiopia)

Friends of CHFE supported a research study coordinated by Dr. Dejuma Yadeta at Addis Ababa University.  The study is a spectrum of heart disease in six major referral hospitals in Ethiopia, to bring some understanding of the burden of heart disease in Ethiopia, including the many children and young adults that arrive at these hospitals with rheumatic heart disease.


Dr. Vib Kshettry
Founder & Medical Director, Friends of FCHFE

Cardiovascular, Thoracic and Cardiac Transplant Surgeon
Director of Cardiac Surgery Training Program
The Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Girma Wolde-Michael
Chair, Friends of FCHFE

Deputy Chief IP Counsel & International IP Operations Head (retired)
Medtronic, Inc.

Dr. Susan Alpert
Principle, SFA Consulting, LLC

Formerly Senior Vice President, Medtronic, Inc.

Dr. Brian Anderson

Founding Partner of Midwest Internal Medicine and Metropolitan Cardiology Consultants

Wendy Bennett
Consultant to Foundations in Global Health (retired)

Senior Advisor, NCD Synergies initiative, Partners in Health

Bruce Johnson
Senior Counsel (retired)

Fredrikson & Byron

Bill Kelly
Government Relations Manager (retired)

Wells Fargo

Pixie Martin

Communications and Training

James H. Patterson
Managing Partner

Patterson Thuente IP

“Children and young adults with heart disease can make up nearly half of all patients that come to cardiac clinics of major hospitals in Ethiopia. Their needs should be prioritized.”
— Dr. Dejuma Yadeta