Kenya Cardiac Society partners with Healthy Heart Africa and stakeholders to tackle cardiovascular disease

Kenya Cardiac Society partners with Healthy Heart Africa and stakeholders to tackle cardiovascular disease

The Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS) has today partnered with AstraZeneca’s Healthy Heart Africa programme, the Kenya Heart Foundation and other stakeholders to raise awareness and reduce premature deaths from the world’s numer one killer – cardiovascular disease.

In celebration of World Heart Day – whose theme this year is ‘share the power’ – KCS and its partner organisations seek to promote the message that small changes make a big difference.

Pupils from Kaloleni Primary School entertain guests during the World Heart Day celebrations at Railways Sports Club today.

In support of this, KCS wants to highlight that in Kenya, there is a growing number of hypertension and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) cases and therefore it is important that everyone has regular blood pressure checks.

Their initiative comes at a time when HHA has identified more than 700,000 living with high blood pressure. Heart Health Africa plans to reach 10 million people afflicted with the condition across the continent by 2025.

Dr. Bernard Gitura – Cardiologist and President of the Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS)

Speaking at the World Heart Day event, Dr Bernard Gitura – Cardiologist and President of KCS – highlighted that heart conditions are on the rise in the country due to low public awareness on heart health, specifically on the two conditions that are contributing to the accelerated rise in cardiovascular complications.

"Hypertension is the number one risk factor for heart attack and stroke in the world, while RHD is the most commoncause for heart failure in children and young adults below 35 years."

Dr Bernard Gitura - Cardiologist and President of KCS

“RHD is preventable and treatable as it arises from poorly treated sore throat,” he explained.

In 2015, the first nationwide survey on non-communicable diseases by the Ministry of Health, the STEPwise Survey (STEPS) , revealed low awareness of heart health amongst people in Kenya. The survey found that 23.8% of Kenyans had raised blood pressure, yet 56% had never been screened for it.

Dr. Allan Mackenzie – Healthy Heart Africa programme

The survey’s assessment of risk factors found that 39% of the population is overweight or obese. The results show the importance of increasing public awareness regarding heart health in the country. Partnerships, like the one between KCS and HHA are a key part of improving heart health awareness.

"If we are to tackle cardiovascular disease in Kenya, stakeholders across public and private sectors need to work together to ensure that heart health awareness is raised, treatment is available and training is provided."

Ashling Mulvaney, Senior Director for Healthy Heart Africa

HHA has achieved a number of key milestones since launching in October 2014. Since its inception, the organisation has implemented over 3.5 million blood pressure screenings in the community and in healthcare facilities.

The group has trained more than 4,000 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and community health volunteers. Also, through HHA, over 500 healthcre facilities have been activated in Africa.

Dr. Bernard Gitura – Cardiologist and President of the Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS) with Dr. Barasa

World Heart Day celebrations are also being held in Mombasa and Kisumu. in Nairobi, as part of the celebrations, KCS is promoting an active lifestyle by hosting a series of Zumba and touch rugby sessions, alongside free health screenings and counselling for members of the public by top cardiologists.

For the first time in Kenya, Nairobi will also be represented in the international map by having its tallest building – Britam Towers – lighting up red in the evening as a visual symbol of Kenya’s fight against premature deaths from cardiovascular disease.

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