NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 30 – The Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS) has implored Kenyans to improve their health awareness by going for heart screening to reduce premature deaths caused by cardiovascular disease which is the world’s number one killer.
Speaking during the World Heart Day Friday, Dr Bernard Gitura – cardiologist and president of KCS, highlighted that heart conditions are on the rise in the country due to low public awareness on heart health specifically on the conditions that are contributing to the accelerated rise in cardiovascular complications.
“Hypertension is the number one risk factor for heart attack and stroke in the world, while RHD is the most common cause of heart failure in children and young adults below 35 years. RHD is preventable and treatable as it arises from a poorly treated sore throat,” he said.
Dr Gitura added that for those already on treatment for conditions such as hypertension, awareness needs to be created on how to comply with taking medication since most patients still don’t understand that treatment needs to be consistent.
In 2015, a nationwide survey on non-communicable diseases by the Ministry of Health found that 23.8 percent of Kenyans had raised blood pressure, yet 56 percent had never been screened for it and 39 percent of the population is overweight or obese.
Ashling Mulvaney, Senior Director for Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) outlined the importance of partnerships in tackling the burden of cardiovascular disease in Kenya.
“If we are to tackle cardiovascular disease in Kenya, stakeholders across public and private sectors need to work together to ensure that heart health awareness is raised, treatment is available and training is provided,” he said.
“We are working with KCS and the healthcare community to mark World Heart Day because we believe in the importance of partnerships in tackling the burden of cardiovascular disease in Kenya through awareness, screening and health sector strengthening.”
Cardiovascular disease including heart disease and stroke claims 17.5 million lives each year making it the world’s leading cause of death.