Kenyans mark World Heart Day

Kenyans joined the world in marking World Heart Day Friday under the theme “share the power”. Dr Grace Aketch Ochieng, Paedatric Cardiologist says  that  the day  is aimed at informing people around the globe that heart disease are the world’s leading causes of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year.

Dr Aketch noted that treating cardiovascular diseases is a very expensive affair hence the need for the public to check their lifestyle, weight gain especially around the stomach area, excessive use of alcohol or caffeine and stress which she said are among causes of some cardiovascular diseases.

She said that in children these diseases sometimes will present with just a mere sore throat or tonsils.

For the family of Mary Wambui Irungu a seven year old child suffering from pulmonary atresia, the day should also be used to expose gaps in the healthcare system which make treatment expensive.

At the age of 7, Mary wambui is not able to enjoy the joys of childhood. She suffers from a cardiovascular disease called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) or simply a hole in her heart.

Mary also suffers from pulmonary atresia a condition that affects the pulmonary valve. The skin color on her palms and eyes have changed.

Her mother who has two other children says the condition, makes Mary tire easily, she also experiences severe headaches which cause her veins to protrude.

Though Mary’s school is a stone throw away from their house, her mother has to carry the seven year old girl to and from school on the rare occasions that she is well enough.

Dr Aketch who is familiar with her case says they were unable to operate on her for lack of machines that can regulate her blood pressure during the surgery and recommended she be taken to India. She needs 1 million shillings for treatment.

To ensure that as many patients as possible access affordable treatment the ministry of health collaborated with some NGOs to form Healthy Heart Africa in 2014.  Since 2015  the initiative has succeeded in decentralizing screening services for cardiovascular diseases and offering subsidized medicine.

Dr. Allan Mackenzie confirms that 4 million Kenyans have benefited from the screening.

Doctors are cautioning against leading sedentary lifestyles, excessive weight gain, excessive use of alcohol or caffeine and stress.




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