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Regular medical checks to beat sudden deaths

By Editor
02 August 2016   |   4:07 am
To address the situation, the experts have recommended that Nigerians should increase their physical activity in order to protect their heart health and reduce the risk ...
Exercising...Awareness is the first step to a healthy heart. Paying attention to how much we walk should be as simple as watching what we eat. We are urging people to take action to protect their hearts. By reaching the recommended guideline of minimum 30 minutes of moderate exercise, which includes brisk walking at least five days a week, many premature deaths can be prevented.” PHOTO CREDIT: google.com/search

Exercising…Awareness is the first step to a healthy heart. Paying attention to how much we walk should be as simple as watching what we eat. We are urging people to take action to protect their hearts. By reaching the recommended guideline of minimum 30 minutes of moderate exercise, which includes brisk walking at least five days a week, many premature deaths can be prevented.” PHOTO CREDIT: google.com/search

CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY

Solutions
To address the situation, the experts have recommended that Nigerians should increase their physical activity in order to protect their heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke.

Mbakwem said: “I think it is good for the government to have banned commercial motorcycle so that people will start walking. We have to build the roads and provide where people can walk. Take a road to a healthy heart; walk.

“Let us start doing what we enjoy like dancing. Let the children dance. We have to consciously start taking at least 10,000 steps a day. Use the stairs rather than the elevator. Be wary of salty food. Do not fry the fish and white meat. We have to start reading labels of food products before we buy. We have to ban cigarettes.”

Ajuluchukwu said: “… It is important to note that these patients are still dying young and a few hours after admission. This we believe calls for an urgent review and upgrading of our critical care management facilities. This trend may be improved by a concerted effort among all stakeholders to improve the awareness, control and management of hypertension…”

Ezeigwe said: “The key to preventing the NCDs is to strive and do the exact opposite of the risk factors enumerated above as a matter of routine. Parents should begin early to teach their children about these healthy behaviours and encourage them by doing the same. This is important because leading by example is the best way to entrench the desired positive behavior in the children.”

She said communities could do a lot such as discouraging unhealthy foods in relevant places but rather encourage consumption of fruits and vegetables by including these as important menu at events; checking alcohol and tobacco sale and consumption within the community.

The public health physician said Nigeria as a country has taken a major step in this direction by enacting the Tobacco Control Act recently. “The Tobacco Act has provisions for the control of manufacture, sale and use of tobacco and its products. It prohibits smoking in public and enclosed places and discourages manufacturers/merchants from deceptive advertising,” she said.

Ezeigwe added: “This Act will go a long way in curbing the prevalence of NCDs in Nigeria if well implemented. I want to use this opportunity to request all well meaning Nigerians to assist in the implementation of this life-saving Act.”

Chief Science Officer, WHF, Dr. Kathryn Taubert, said: “Awareness is the first step to a healthy heart. Paying attention to how much we walk should be as simple as watching what we eat. We are urging people to take action to protect their hearts. By reaching the recommended guideline of minimum 30 minutes of moderate exercise, which includes brisk walking at least five days a week, many premature deaths can be prevented.”

Medical Manager, Pfizer, Dr. Osahon Omorodion, said: “The main aim is to educate people that the threat of heart disease can begin at any age, and that people’s risk increases with exposure to risk factors such as unhealthy diet or exposure to tobacco smoke. Unless people are aware and action is taken to enable heart-healthy living, CVD will remain the single leading cause of death worldwide and, by 2030, will be responsible for 23.6 million deaths each year.”

The Nigerian Health Journal study recommended: “…Residents of Rivers state of Nigeria should be more conscious of their health and undergo regular medical check-ups for early detection and proper management of cardiovascular diseases especially systemic hypertension.

“The governments at the various levels need to improve on the funding level of healthcare in order that the current low life expectancy in Nigeria will improve…”

A study on communicable disease-related sudden death in the 21st century in Nigeria published by researchers from College of Health Sciences, Osun State University, Osogbo, Osun State; and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Osun State, recommended: “There is an urgent need to step up public health strategies to curtail infections in this environment, encourage better use of the existing health facilities by the people, and the government should strive hard to make health a top priority.”

The OAUTHC recommended: “These findings seem to suggest that environmental factors play important roles in sudden unexpected natural deaths in Nigeria. Appropriate public health measures need to be put in place to address these issues.”

Ezeigwe said if detected early the NCDs could be well controlled or managed. She, therefore, recommended in addition to leading healthy life styles by avoiding the risks, that every adult should undertake medical checks periodically.

She explained: “At the very minimum blood pressure and blood sugar should be checked frequently. This is especially important for those with family history of diabetes and hypertension.

“Similarly a number of cancers can be detected early if screened periodically. This is also recommended because cancers diagnosed at the early stage have reasonable chances of favourable treatment outcomes.”

The national coordinator of NCDs said the FMoH would continue to review existing policies in line with recent technical advances to ensure the protection of Nigerians from NCDs. “More importantly these policies would be diligently implemented for optimal benefit and everyone has a role to play,” she said.

Going forward
The Director General of Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Innocent Ujah told The Guardian that the Institute is conducting a nationwide probe on recent rise in sudden deaths that has claimed some notable Nigerians.

Ujah said: “We are concluding our research on common causes of sudden death, nobody gave us that idea. We found out that suddenly people are dying, they would sleep and would not wake up, and they would just slump.

“That is a research question, we call it Implementation Research. We need to know the causes and find solutions. Even before the tragedies that happened recently as you know in the last one-month we have lost three important Nigerians who have died suddenly, I would not name them.

“We are concluding the study. It is a national research that includes the six geo political zone. It is not just in the southwest and I am happy to say that the initiative is working for us. So many cases of sudden death and we must respond to the health needs of our people.”

A new WHO report has highlighted the need to intensify national action to meet global targets on NCDs such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and lung diseases, which collectively represent the largest cause of death in people aged under-70 years.

According to the WHO, a number of countries have put in place measures to prevent tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity. Some have created new financing opportunities to build strong public health systems by taxing tobacco products but progress is insufficient and uneven.

The global survey, “Assessing national capacity for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases,” showed that some countries are making remarkable progress.

To date, 60 per cent countries have set national time-bound targets for NCDs indicators and 92 per cent have integrated NCDs in national health plans. Tobacco taxation is the most widespread fiscal intervention with 87 per cent of countries reporting that they have implemented excise and non-excise taxes on tobacco. Alcohol taxation is the second most widespread fiscal intervention with 80 per cent of countries reporting this type of intervention. Sugar-sweetened beverages (18 per cent of countries) and foods high in fat, sugar or salt (eight per cent of countries) were the third and fourth most widespread fiscal intervention.

Ezeigwe told The Guardian that the WHO has shown tremendous goodwill to support the FMoH to conduct a national survey on NCDs as soon as possible. “We invite other partners to key into this noble course to ensure availability of quality data on NCDs in Nigeria,” she said.

The national coordinator of NCDs said if the national survey on NCDs were conducted according to plan, the availability of much needed data would aid planning for ultimate reduction in the fast rising prevalence of NCDs in Nigeria.

It is believed that if the federal and states governments had improved national capacity for the prevention and control of NCDs, Okagbue, Adeoye and Bala even Keshi and Amodu would have been alive today. The time for government to implement the agenda is now.