Heart doctors are raising money to launch a new clinic in South Africa to tackle the early signs of heart disease in youngsters living in poverty.

Laura Churchill, Marva Bushay and Dr Yousef Daryani, who work at Epsom and St Helier hospitals, will be visiting Cape Town's Tygerberg Hospital, as part of the Echo in Africa initiative organised by the British Society of Echocardiography. 

They will screen up to 2,000 children for early signs of rheumatic heart disease and offer long-term treatment to those found to be affected.

Rheumatic heart disease is caused by poverty include poor housing, malnutrition and little access to medical help.  Immense strain is put onto the heart, which may lead to severe heart disease and heart failure.

Ms Churchill, a chief cardiac physiologist, said: "In the UK we are lucky to have access to technology that can diagnose and prevent these diseases, but not all children in South Africa have this privilege. 

"Rheumatic heart disease is the third most common cause of heart failure in Africa, and so it is vita this preventable heart damage is detected early to help save lives."

To allow for the screenings to take place, a permanent facility is being built for the project in South Africa.

The three doctors are paying for their flights, but need to raise at least £1,500 to go towards the facility and transporting the children, within South Africa, for their screenings to take place.

To donate, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/EchoInAfrica.