By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA—With the latest statistics that heart diseases claim a minimum of 17.5 million lives annually around the globe, the Federal Ministry of Health has partnered with the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Carlisle Nigeria Limited and other health stakeholders to promote healthy living and reduce heart-related ailments.
One of the collaborative efforts of the health stakeholders to achieve a reduction in heart-related deaths was crystallised at this year’s World Heart Day, celebrated in Abuja on Friday at the Federal Ministry of Health with the theme, “Share the Power.”
The annual event, a global initiative of the World Heart Foundation since year 2000, is celebrated principally to raise awareness about the risks associated with heart diseases and the importance of taking care of the heart through healthy living.
At the well attended ceremony, it was clearly stated that heart disease and stroke constitute the number one killer globally and that 80 percent of those deaths occur in low income countries such as Nigeria, where the healthcare system is stressed and resources limited.
To drive home the point about healthy living, Executive Director of the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye, presented to the representative of the Health Minister, Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe, Director Non Communicable Diseases, a placard of the ‘golden rules’ of healthy heart that needs to be known by all Nigerians.
In the same vein, Managing Director of Carlisle Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Shade Ajayi, carried out a health screening using Microlife Blood Pressure Machine on over 500 Nigerians at the venue to determine the state of their heart health.
As a result of the screening, Mrs. Ajayi also had extensive one-on-one counselling on those screened and advised them on what to do in order to sustain their health.
Mrs. Ajayi, who also spoke on the theme of this year’s World Heart Day: “Share the Power”, explained that it was important for those living healthy lives to share the secrets with others so as to prolong the lives of others.
The Carlisle Chief Executive said, “What we are saying is this, those good habits you are engaged in for your heart health encourage those around you to do the same. If you are active and exercise regularly as part of your healthy living, organize others to join you so that it can be fun. If you are eating healthy, get the whole family involved. Share your good health tips with others. Together, we have the power to help people live longer, better, more heart-healthy lives.
“Good heart health is good for our families, communities and the economy. The burden of cardiovascular disease in Nigeria must be reduced. But we must all act now and the Nigerian Heart Foundation is at the forefront of this initiative,” Ajayi explained.
Representative of the World Health Organization, Dr. Mary Dewan, harped on the need to avoid unhealthy lifestyles such as tobacco consumption and poor diet, which increase the rate of cardiovascular diseases.
Dewan noted that “Cardiovascular Diseases including, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease accounts for 63% of all deaths.
The WHO representative said, “CVDs are number one cause of death accounting for 17.5 million deaths annually and it has been projected that by 2030 the number will increase to 23 million”.