Monday October 25, 2021

Govt urged to spend more on preventive cardiology in primary health care

September 25, 2021

Leading cardiologists and other health experts have urged the federal and provincial governments to immediately launch preventive cardiology programs in the primary care throughout the country, saying prevention is the only solution that can reduce premature deaths due to cardiovascular disease.

Speaking at the 24th Pakistan Hypertension League (PHL) Annual Scientific Conference here on Friday, they warned that half of the country’s population, especially middle-aged women, were suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure, which was the leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, renal failures and blindness among other ailments.

They deplored that millions of people living with high blood pressure for years were not aware that they were going to face serious health issues in the days to come. “Pakistan is faced with epidemics of hypertension and obesity, which are the leading causes of cardiovascular disease and premature deaths in the country. As we can’t treat all the patients with cardiovascular disease, the only way forward is to immediately launch preventive cardiology programs in all the primary healthcare facilities,” Vice Chancellor Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Prof Saeed Quraishy said while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the conference.

Hundreds of cardiologists and health experts from health facilities and medical educational institutions are attending the three-day annual scientific conference, which would be addressed by over 80 cardiologists and health experts from Pakistan as well as from abroad, including European, Middle Eastern and South Asian countries.

Speaking as chief guest, Prof Qurasihy stressed the need to control the problem of cardiovascular disease and other ailments in the initial phases, and in this regard, he said, nothing was more helpful than launching preventive cardiology programs at primary and secondary levels.

“I hope that the recommendations of this summit where top of the line cardiologists and experts would be presenting their papers, with focus on the aspect of prevention, would be forwarded to the authorities for implementation,” he added.

An eminent interventional cardiologist and president of the Pakistan Society of Interventional Cardiology (PCIC), Prof Nadeem Rizvi, also emphasised the importance of preventive aspect, saying that countries like Pakistan could not afford to treat all patients with cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes and other diseases, so the only option was to spend on preventive cardiology instead of making huge treatment facilities.

“It is the right time that we should focus more on preventive cardiology instead of interventional cardiology as we don’t have the resources to treat all the patients. With more focus and spending on prevention, we would be able to save a lot more lives in the country.”

Another expert from Multan, Prof Haroon Babar, who is president of the Pakistan Cardiac Society, said more than half of the people with hypertension were unaware that they were having high blood pressure, while those on medicines were also unable to control their blood pressure as people were totally unaware of the consequences of the uncontrolled high blood pressure.

“In these circumstances, awareness is the only tool we have to control this epidemic in our society, for which entire society and the authorities would have to work together.” Secretary General PHL Prof Muhammad Ishaque said the main objective of the conference this year was to promote awareness about hypertension and its implications among the common people as well as among the healthcare professionals as many of them were unaware of the damage it could cause to the health and entire body of people.

The organising secretary of the 24th PHL conference, Prof Nawaz Lashari, was of the opinion that in addition to causing physical health issues, hypertension could also lead to depression and anxiety, which in turn reduce the immunity of the patients and make them susceptible to Covid-19 and other infectious diseases. Other leading cardiologists, including founding member PHL Prof Azhar Farooqui, Director Health Karachi Dr Akram Sultan and Dr Beenish Imam, also spoke.