First Lady calls for early diagnosis of heart disease

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has urged health sector actors to prioritize early diagnosis of heart disease by scaling up awareness, access to information, diagnostic services and early treatment.

The First Lady said success in the fight against cardiovascular disease requires more research, data collection and public knowledge needed to identify disease symptoms, especially in women and children.

In addition, the First Lady said there was an urgent need to expand partnerships, mobilize more resources and develop human capacities, as well as formulate the necessary legislation and policy interventions to address the increase in cases of cardiovascular disease.

“I applaud the progress already made by our government and all partners represented here in prioritizing cardiovascular disease through preparedness initiatives across the country,” said First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.

The First Lady spoke on Thursday evening at the official opening of this year’s Africa STEMI Live congress, where she brought together stakeholders to step up efforts to defeat heart disease on the continent.

At the same time, the First Lady called for a personal commitment to the pursuit of healthier lives, saying good health was essential for economic growth and societal progress.

She urged heart health actors in Africa to focus more on training health care providers and providing life-saving drugs to remote areas to ensure that those affected by heart disease have access to heart disease services. primary health.

“It involves training (some of which is offered at this conference) and access to life-saving medicines, especially in hard-to-reach areas. Drugs that break up clots ensure that a patient stays alive before they can reach a hospital that will place them in a full intensive care unit,” she said.

The Africa STEMI Live Congress 2022, being held in Kenya for the third time in five years, brought together cardiovascular health professionals and public and private sector partners from Africa, America, Europe and Asia to explore the possibilities of ending the deadly disease. Heart attack from ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).

Once again, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta applauded grassroots initiatives aimed at tackling cardiovascular and heart disease in the country, such as Kenya’s Country Preparedness Initiative and the National Health Insurance Fund Amendment. Hospitalization (NHIF) which includes coverage for the treatment of acute heart attacks in Kenya.

“These interventions have all contributed to the impact we jointly seek – to build the resilience of our health systems by expanding access to treatment and further addressing the financial barriers that have prevented many Kenyans from seeking treatment” , said the First Lady.

She thanked the conference organizers for their commitment and deploying the necessary resources to collectively address the growing burden of cardiovascular disease worldwide.

“I am particularly encouraged by the many partnerships that have been forged since the first Africa STEMI LIVE in 2017 with partners from the African continent, Asia, the UK, China, the Ministry of Health, members of the Pan African Cardiac Society, Kenyan Cardiac Society, Heart Attack Concern and Kenya Hospitals,” the First Lady appreciated.

She also commended the STEMI program for exploring local solutions to the growing cases of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease, as well as for showcasing the latest developments and solutions for the management of heart disease.

Speaking at the meeting, Chairman of Heart Attack Concern Kenya, Dr Robert Mathenge said few Kenyans have access to the standard health care recommended by the World Health Organization and called for the introduction and the implementation of a standard care protocol in the country.

Dr Mathenge thanked First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for her continued commitment to the fight against heart disease in the country, noting that the recent reform of the NHIF law to include heart patients was progressive.

On his part, the President of the Pan African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR), Professor Elijah Ogola, denounced the absence of comprehensive health services in Kenya, saying that there were only eight cardilabs in the country, of which seven are located in Nairobi and one in Mombasa.

Professor Ogola called for an urgent decentralization of cardiovascular health services to counties as well as the adoption of preventive measures to curb the disease.

The lecture was also delivered by the President of the Kenya Cardiac Society, Dr. Bernard Samia, the Director of Philips-East Africa, Dr. Muthoni Ntonjira, and the co-founder of Africa STEMI, Dr. Awadh Mohamed, among others.