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Cardiovascular Diseases In Children Remains A Scourge In Nigeria

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There has been rising concern over children with heart diseases, otherwise known as cardiovascular diseases, yet there is no cardiothoracic surgical center in Nigeria to cater for them. HENRY TYOHEMBA writes on the urgent need to establish such centres in the country.

A study recently conducted at the department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) found that 81 percent of children who were examined over two-year period had abnormal heartbeats.

This has raised fresh alarm over the rising incidence of heart diseases among children as they are growing up with a greater risk of heart disease.

Heart disease is a general name for a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions that affects the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease both in children and adults constitute a major health problem and lead to many deaths in the recent times.

According to statistics provided by the World Heart Foundation, cardiovascular Diseases such as heart attacks and stroke are responsible for 17.5m deaths per year.

Moved by the rising concern, the TECHNO Foundation while commemorating the 2018 world Heart Day themed, “My Heart, your Heart,’ said in order to get the heart right in shape and lower the exposure on issues related to heart problems, there is need for foods low in saturated fats and cholesterol and reducing the intake of salt.

The Foundation further encouraged on eating variety of nutritious food including, foods such as fruits, vegetables and fiber that are very nutritious in your diet can help with weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level among other things.

Reflecting on this years’ theme which is asking people to make a promise as an individual to make healthier choices and lifestyle decisions, a promise to cook and eat more healthy, a promise to do more exercise and encourage your children to be more active, a promise to say no to smoking and help your loved ones quit, a promise as an healthcare professional to save more lives, and most of all, a simple promise for your heart, for my heart and for all our heart,’ the question remain that are we being accessed to all the demands?

Many concerned Nigerians have raised the alarm over the issue of heart diseases in Nigeria but only a few are rising to take action against combating it.

Recently, the great of the global game of football converged at Barnet’s Hive Stadium in England for a charity match organized by former super eagles’ skipper, Nwankwo Kanu to raise money for Kanu’s Heart foundation for help victims of heart attacks.

The Foundation hope to build a permanent facility for children with heart problems as currently they have to fly youngsters to India to undergo operations.

The Nigerian legend who organized the match to also mark World heart Day told standard sport that ‘imagine going around the world to India for a heart operation. If the child doesn’t have family or money it will be difficult. Believe me I know what it is like to have heart problems. You can have an ankle or shoulder injury and in six or eight months you are healed but if the heart stops for s few moments, that is it,” he said.

He stated that the match was in association with Masters Football to help African Children life-saving heart operations as well as construct a modern cardiac centre facility in Africa to reduce travelling overseas for treatment.

It is therefore, imperative that  to address this issue by establishing cardiacic surgical centers in the country, not just to save lives but also to save the cost of travelling abroad as not every citizen has the resources to take her victim outside for treatment.



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