By Sola Ogundipe
Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has cautioned that unless drastic and sustained actions were taken, the economic loss from cardiovascular (heart) diseases, stroke and diabetes in Nigeria could rise to a projected US$8 billion in the next 10 years, according to estimates by the World Health Organisation, WHO.
Adewole who noted that hypertension is the leading cardiovascular disease in Nigeria and could result in stroke if untreated, remarked that one in five Nigerians is hypertensive and at risk of premature death.
Speaking in Lagos, during the First Annual Black Tie Gala event organised by the Tristate Heart Foundation (THF), to raise N500 million in support of cardiovascular care in Nigeria, argued that immediate action must be taken to stem the tide, else, the nation will keep counting loses.
In a keynote address, he observed that current estimates show that death rate from stroke is 40-50 per cent within the first three months of diagnoses, while 39 per cent of those who survived stroke after three months died within a year, with 12 per cent developing severe disability.
“I can say without fear of contradiction that at least five out of 10 adults seated here tonight have elevated blood pressure and more than half of these are not aware of their situation.
“This is frightening because the dire consequence of neglected hypertension is stroke without warning. Unless we take drastic and sustained actions, we will keep counting losses,” he said.