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Ignorance fueling spread of heart diseases in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29- The rise in cardiovascular diseases in the country has been attributed to poor lifestyle and ignorance. 

Speaking at a free health screening at Uhuru Park in celebration of the World Heart, Cardiologist Dr Bernard Gitura said there is a low awareness of heart health among Kenyans

“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.

RhD (Rheumatic heart disease) is caused by rheumatic fever and treatment involves prevention of reinfection.

The initiative themed “My heart Your Heart” offered free consultation, check-ups and physical fitness sessions at Uhuru Park to raise awareness and reduce premature deaths from the world’s number one killer – cardiovascular disease.

Head of the NCDs in the Ministry of Health, Dr Joseph Kibachio, said the government is committed to expanding the level of awareness of NCDs through public education and engagement with patients to understand their concerns and address their needs accordingly.

“We are scaling up our outreach effort to ensure that those with NCDs are not only well taken care of, but are also active participants in the disease management agenda,” he said.

In 2015, the first nationwide survey on non-communicable diseases by the Ministry of Health, the STEP wise Survey (STEPs), revealed low awareness of heart health in Kenya.

The survey found that 23.8 percent of Kenyans had high blood pressure, yet 56 per cent had never been screened and survey’s assessment of risk factors found that 39 percent of the population is overweight or obese.

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The results showed the importance of increasing public awareness regarding heart health in the country. Partnerships, like the one between KCS and HHA are a key part of improving heart health awareness.

World Heart Day is a global campaign during which individuals, families, communities and governments around the world participate in activities to take charge of their heart health and that of others.

Through this campaign, the World Heart Federation unites people from all countries and backgrounds in the fight against the cardiovascular disease burden, and inspires and drives international action to encourage heart-healthy living across the world.


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