About 17.9 million people worldwide die from cardiovascular diseases every year, the Director of National Cardiothoracic Centre, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Lawrence Agyemang Siriboe has said.
The figure, however, according to experts is likely to surge to 23 million in 2020 if practical measures are not taken to counter the situation.
Speaking at the launch of the 2019 World Heart Day in Accra today, Dr Siriboe disclosed that heart-related diseases remain the major cause of deaths in Ghana as 60 per cent of deaths is related to the heart.
World Heart Day is celebrated on September 29 of every year to draw people’s attention to heart illness, the range of associated health issues and how it can be prevented.
This year’s celebration on the theme; “My Heart, Your Heart” seeks to create a global community of ‘Heart Heroes’ to ensure heart health equity for all.
In order to ensure a healthy heart, Dr Siriboe admonished the public to show real commitment to heart health by cutting down on excessive alcohol, ceasing smoking, cooking and eating healthily, engaging in regular exercise among other health measures.
“Let us make a promise to our families to cook and eat more healthily, to our children to exercise more and help them to be more active, to say no to smoking and help our loved ones to stop; make a promise as a healthcare professional to help patients lower their cholesterol, as a policymaker to support policies that promote healthy hearts and as an employee to invest in heart-healthy workplaces,” he said.
As part measures to counter the situation in Ghana, the Cardiothoracic centre on Thursday, June 27, this year launched the “NUNA crowdfunding platform”, a mobile money platform to solicit for funds for patients of heart diseases as a majority of Ghanaians are unable to afford the treatment.
In Ghana, one out of 100 children born has a hole in heart condition and is compelled to undergo surgery which costs about $6,000. The treatment of the condition is however not covered by the National Health insurance.
According to the World Heart Federation, cardiovascular disease is the world’s number one killer today but should not be the situation.
It says, by making just a few small changes to one’s life, one can reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as improve their quality of life and set a good example for the next generation.
It says it is about saying to oneself, the people they care about and individuals all around the world: “What can I do right now to look after my heart … and your heart?”