Islamabad; September 29, 2022: President Dr Arif Alvi has urged the need to create awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD) and adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the death rate due to heart diseases. He added that adopting preventive measures could help reduce the risk of disease which would also decrease the burden on the national health care system.
The President made these remarks while addressing a symposium organized by an Islamabad-based private hospital to commemorate “World Heart Day – 2022”, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, today. This year World Heart Day is being commemorated with the theme of “Use Heart for Every Heart” aiming to urge people to think differently, make the right decisions, help others and reach as many individuals as possible to help achieve cardiovascular health for every heart.
Addressing the ceremony, the President highlighted that 25% of deaths in Pakistan were due to CVD and globally 18.6 million deaths were caused due to heart disease and stroke. He said that the main causes of CVD included hypertension, diabetes, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, obesity and physical inactivity.
The President stated that CVD could be prevented by changing the lifestyle; consuming a healthier diet consisting of legumes, fruits and vegetables; reducing red meat, fatty and deep-fried food consumption; quitting smoking, and playing sports. He stressed the importance of educating the patients and the general public regarding preventive means to counter disease by repeating the messages through effective, impactful and persistent awareness campaigns.
The President said that Pakistan should also prioritize the mental health of its people, which was highly underserved due to the insufficient number of psychiatrists and mental health care providers. He underscored that our population faced different levels of stress and mental diseases which had a bearing on increased incidents of heart diseases in the country.
The President urged society to good care of every individual’s mental health by reducing stress, avoiding and managing stressful events, eliminating hate and backbiting in our social conduct and spreading love and care for friends, family, neighbourhood, humanity and nature which would help reduce mental stress and impact of CVD. He also urged healthcare providers to improve their communication skills and ethics while dealing with their patients.
The President said that in developing countries like Pakistan provision of medical care facilities was a major challenge, adding that the government and the relevant departments were working effectively to improve the public health situation in the country with special emphasis on the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases such as CVD. He said that with relentless and coordinated efforts, we had managed the COVID-19 pandemic effectively and we could reduce the blow of CVD by adopting a similar approach.
The President stressed the need to improve surveillance of CVD and its risk factors and redo health policies in line with the challenges faced by the nation. He also stressed expanding the availability of resources, such as equipment and medicines, and developing open spaces for public use, besides urging the need for undertaking indigenous medical research, and the local development and manufacturing of machinery and equipment to reduce the cost of the treatment and lessen the burden due the import of expensive machinery.
He said that congenital cardiovascular diseases were widespread which resulted in health conditions in infants and young children. He stressed the health sector of Pakistan to conduct indigenous research and development within the country in gene editing and manipulation and embrace the developments taking place in the developed world to replace faulty genes with healthy ones to cure congenital diseases.
The President also called upon the health sector to simplify the treatment procedures of CVD so that marginalized and low-income strata of society could also benefit from such facilities. He reiterated that the Pakistani nation had repeatedly demonstrated its resilience in the wake of massive natural disasters and external shocks like earthquakes, floods and COVID-19, adding that the nation is fully capable of displaying the same passion and efforts for raising awareness to prevent CVD.
CEO of the hospital, Mr Haroon Naseer, also addressed the occasion, whereas Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Dr Mahim Akmal Malik, and Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Mir Waheed, briefed the participants about World Heart Day and cardiovascular health.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Mir Waheed explained the importance of commemorating “World Heart Day – 2022” and said that awareness regarding CVD was important to reduce the CVD load on the nation.
Earlier, the President distributed mementoes amongst the doctors of the private hospital for effectively and compassionately serving their patients.