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‘More Nigerians risk heart diseases over recession’


Heart-diseases• Experts seek official policy direction to fight ailment
More Nigerians are now at risk of hypertension and other heart diseases, the Nigerian Cancer Society has alerted.Chief Consultant Cardiologist at the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Tochukwu Uwaezuoke, described the economic hardship as a stressful condition, which is likely to prompt heart diseases and risk factors like hypertension.

“In addition, it makes it harder for a person who either has heart disease or a predisposing condition to access healthcare especially as healthcare costs are borne out-of-pocket and there are many competing needs for scarce funds,” Uwaezuoke told The Guardian yesterday.

He said economic hardships affect the people in various ways including poor nutrition, poor preventive healthcare, and poor adherence to treatment likely due to costs of medications, among other issues.

He therefore called for better government interventions to mitigate the impact on citizens.According to Uwaezuoke, “This can be done at several levels from the government instituting policies that enable the economy to thrive, improving healthcare facilities making them more accessible and others.”

The heart specialist, who is also the Chairman of Local Organising Committee for the 45th Annual General Meeting /Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Cardiac Society, revealed that over 500 local and international experts would meet in Abuja.

“It is hoped that with more education of both doctors and the general public we may start seeing some changes in a positive direction. In addition from this conference increased advocacy to relevant stakeholders in government will be emphasised,” Uwaezuoke maintained.

He lamented that Nigerians don’t check themselves until they take ill. “When people say they have been well and haven’t gone for checks, I give them the analogy of the car. If people could take their cars for scan and servicing every three months, I don’t see why their health should not be given the same treatment.

“We know that the economic climate is now tough. So, basically, everybody, every adult Nigerian should be checked at least once in a year. That includes blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, ECGs and the basic things,” he advised.The conference will be held from September 21 to September 23. There will be a pre-conference workshop to be held two days before then.

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