Kenya is staring at an unprecedented spike in cardiovascular diseases due to sedentary lifestyles among urban populations and a lack of diagnostic equipment in health facilities, experts said Wednesday ahead of World Heart Day to be marked on Friday.
The experts noted that heart ailments could become a leading cause of deaths in Kenya by 2030 unless the government and industry partners scale up investments in preventive measures like early screening and public awareness.
Mohamed Jeilan, a cardiologist at Nairobi’s Aga Khan Hospital, said a rise in heart diseases has strained healthcare infrastructure while undermining Kenya’s economic progress.
“The country has witnessed a spike in coronary heart diseases that are currently the sixth leading cause of deaths. Majority of these cases are linked to lifestyle, environmental pollution and genetic factors,” Jeilan said.
He spoke during a forum in Nairobi to raise awareness on heart diseases.
Jeilan noted that regular screening, timely access to life-saving drugs and trained personnel in health facilities are key to avert deaths linked to heart ailments.
“There is need to enlighten citizens on lifestyle choices that may increase their vulnerability to heart attack. They include alcoholism, smoking and heavy intake of processed food,” said Jeilan.
He added that data-driven interventions are required to reduce the burden of cardiovascular ailments in the low-income population segment and Kenya should explore innovative partnerships with industry to revitalize action on cardiovascular ailments that accounts for 12 out of 30 percent of deaths related to non communicable diseases in the country. Enditem