Eliminating inequities, myths in cardiac care | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 25, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 25, 2010

Eliminating inequities, myths in cardiac care


In recent years, the field of cardiology (which deals with heart diseases) has been developed remarkably in Bangladesh with the establishment of high tech private and specialised cardiac hospitals. Despite these advancements, common people often face significant hurdles in finding timely and affordable health care to get treated and protected against world’s largest killers, heart diseases.
Concentrated cardiac services in the urban areas and inadequate government set up create a huge discrepancy in cardiac healthcare delivery to rural and urban people making the situation worse. Experts urged to take urgent action to bridge the gap and make cardiac care accessible for all.
Contrary to popular belief, heart disease is not a disease for the well off group of the society only. Statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that 80 percent of deaths from cardiovascular diseases are occurring among the poor, in low and middle-income countries where men and women are equally affected.
In government settings, one National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and a few government medical college hospitals have the setup to provide quality cardiac care including coronary intervention to screen, diagnose and treat the huge number of people who are entirely dependent on these few institutions to get intervention at an affordable cost.
Cost involve in private settings have taken cardiac care beyond the reach of poor, who are most vulnerable to death. Many people are dying simply because of they are unable to access timely care at reasonable cost, which could be preventable if services at government level are expanded.
Eminent cardiologist Professor Dr Md Afzalur Rahman, Head of Cardiology, Mitford Hospital said “Cardiology departments of government hospitals are seeing increasing number of patients by and by. But the facilities, setup and instrument are limited and need to be expanded to serve huge population. As there is huge burden of heart diseases, it is crucial to strengthen the existing services and establishing more services to cope with rising number of patients”.
He also said, “Creating awareness among mass population is also an effective prevention strategy for a poor setting like us.”
80 percent of deaths from cardiovascular illness are preventable by modifying nine risk factors, including smoking, abnormal cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, stress, abdominal obesity, sedentary lifestyle, eating too few fruits and vegetables and abstaining from alcohol.
People have misconception that heart diseases do not affect the youth. Unfortunately, recent studies have demystified the false belief. Consumption of junk food packed with saturated fat is the leading cause of obesity, which leads to heart disease in urban youth. However, studies show that 20 percent of adolescents with ideal body weight are also susceptible to cardiac disease if they pursue unhealthy lifestyles.
So, widespread distribution of messages and elimination of myths to keep heart healthy has a crucial role in preventing huge number of deaths for heart ailments. Along with extended cardiac services at affordable cost, launching of national campaign and strengthening the awareness programme can play a vital role in prevention of heart diseases.

E-mail: rajibssmc@gmail.com

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