By Chioma Obinna
Following its contribution to health, education and wellness, the President of Finland has awarded renowned cardiologist and the Executive Director of the Nigerian Heart Foundation, NHF, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye the Lion of Finland Knight Award.
The award which was presented to Akinroye by the Ambassador of Finland, Dr Jyrki Pulkkinen in Abuja as part of its activities to mark its103rd independence was in recognition of his contributions in the area of health and education associating with Finland in the last 25 years.
Akinroye is an experienced physician and global health leader with over two decades of work focused on cardiovascular health and non-communicable diseases.
Commenting on the award, he said: “I got to know Finland through health. Finland is a country that has done the most experiment on heart disease.
“They did experiment to see all the risk factors of non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes among others.
“They found out that smoking of cigarette, too much fat in their diet, low physical activities, high salt intake were responsible for the NCDs.
“That was the attraction that got me to Finland. I came back to Nigeria and found out that the same experiment can be done in Nigeria and the partnership has increased since then.”
Akinroye who stated that the award signifies integrity, transparency and hard work said: “There is nothing impossible where you have sincerity, integrity and transparency.
“Award like this rewards your dedication, belief and that investment can come in so many ways.
“The award was given to me because of a few things that I have been able to contribute in the last 30 years that I have been associating with Finland, to bring Nigeria and especially Finland together.”
He said that more were still being expected from all levels of government in Nigeria to ensure quality healthcare delivery for citizens, especially Nigerians living with communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Akinroye urged Nigerians to desist from smoking, eating unhealthy food, too much salt, and not exercising to protect their hearts.
“Heart-related disease is a leading cause of death in the world today, and there is a need for people to pay closer attention to what they consume.
“People should imbibe the culture of engaging in regular physical exercise to live healthier lives. It is estimated that over 60 percent of Nigerians are at risk of heart-related diseases, which is the leading cause of deaths worldwide.
“Majority of people are unaware of the risk associated with heart-related diseases,” he said.