By Chioma Obinna & Oluchi Muogbo
HEALTHIER workplaces have beenÂ identified as a major factor in the promotion of better heart health in Nigeria, Africa and the entire world at large. This was the message on this yearâ€™s World Heart Day, as stakeholders joined forces to call on governments, employers and workers around the world to make workplaces healthier.
Calling on the international community to pay more attention to heart-related diseases in AfricaÂ President, African Heart Network, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye said reduction of incidences of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension in Africa was long overdue.
The forum with the theme, â€œReducing Cardiovascular Disease in African Populationâ€Â brought together experts toÂ address a wide spectrum of issues from scientific initiatives to public health strategies, from heart health in community, smoking to physical; activity, nutrition and from advocacy to health system.
They identified workplace wellness programmes that encourage healthy diets, physical activity and restrictions on tobacco use as a cost-effective way to save lives and improve productivity.â€
WHF President, Prof.Â Pekka Puska said at a timeÂ governments and business leaders are devoting considerable energy and finance to improvingÂ health of global financial systems, attention should also be directed to the health of the workforce.
He noted that hypertension and stroke are no longer a matter of age but more of lifestyle. Bola Ojo of the African Heart Network, said tackling heart disease at community level and creating awareness has yielded positive results in addressing significant and largely preventable disease. She said this yearâ€™s call was to â€˜work with heartâ€™ as most people spend over half their waking hours working.
Ojo said Africans are using the 8th conference to make a statement to the world that CVD is a silent killer in Africa and that the international world should look into it.
â€œNon communicable disease is killing 35 million people worldwide. This is a challenge in Africa. We want to make sure people hear the message. There is no point surviving AIDS and dying of CVD. We wantÂ the international community to pay attention to the problem.â€