GHS, AstraZeneca lead fight against cardio diseases

The prevalence of cardiovascular (cardio) diseases is becoming alarming, prompting the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to identify more effective measures of tackling the problem in the country.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the GHS is collaborating with AstraZeneca, a world leading Biopharmaceutical company, to commence a three-year project to manage cardiovascular or heart diseases in the country.

The initiative, which is directly targeted at reducing hypertension that remains one of the top Out-Patient-Department (OPD) cases in the country, would ensure the screening and diagnosis of persons at high risk of blood pressure or those with the condition; and link them to quality healthcare.

The heart is important, and should be kept healthy to be able to serve as the ‘power supply’ of the human body.

 The heart pumps blood throughout the body, via the circulatory system, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and removing carbon dioxide and other waste, to keep us alive.        

Ghanaian Times in its yesterday’s issue, reported that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the GHS and the company, for the project to be piloted in the Ashanti Region within the next three years under the Company’s Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme.

What is unique about the project is that it seeks to improve people’s access to hypertension care by making medicines readily available at a discount.

A significant number of Ghanaians with high blood pressure are unaware of the diagnosis.

Experts say hypertension is a ‘silent killer”, and Ghanaians who are carrying the condition, unknowingly due to lack of regular medical checks, can be described as being on “silent death roll.”

The Director General of the GHS, Dr Nsiah Asare, cautioned that “Of great concern is the report by the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey of 2014, which shows that a significant number of Ghanaians, 63 per cent women and 80 per cent men, with high blood pressure were unaware of the diagnosis.”

While we consider the GHS and AstraZeneca move as positive, there is the need to look at our lifestyles, which can result in hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.     

The population is prone to the diseases because of changes in lifestyles, especially as a result of urbanisation and influx of western way of life.

Some Ghanaians have moved away from nutritious local foods to consuming much more processed and industrial food, the excessive consumption of which comes with lot of accumulation of bad cholesterol in the blood vessels without enough efforts to burn them.

Ghanaian Times calls on individuals to embrace the GHS’s concerted efforts at introducing the regenerative health concept, especially when Ghana has made regenerative health and nutrition as focal point in national policy.    

Basic common health activities have been suggested under the regenerative health activities that are to become part and parcel of our daily lives.

Mention is made of increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, to provide the necessary nutrients and dietary fibre and increase in water intake as about 70 per cent of the human body is made up of water. 

Additionally, people are expected to keep healthy by engaging in moderate exercise, including brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming, thrice a week, to improve blood circulation, digestion, mental focus and sense of overall well-being.

Interestingly, laughter is said to be a good health therapy as the chemical produced during laughter, has a healing effect as well as getting adequate rest for the body to repair itself during the sleep cycle.

We urge the GHS to back the implementation of the MoU with a vigorous national campaign to heighten public awareness on the regenerative health tidbit, tackle cardiovascular diseases, and to generally stay healthy.  

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