Rural health camps find worrying numbers of children suffering from heart disease

Heart disease has become a major health problem for children in Dolakha, a central district of Bagmati province. Health workers believe the number of children with heart disease is on the rise, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the district.

Recent health camps set up targeting children between five and 15 show heart problems in children. With the support of Nepal Heart Foundation, Dhulikhel Hospital had organized a health camp at Trikuteshwar Secondary School, a community school in Kirnetar of Tamakoshi-5 Rural Municipality on 14 February. No less than six children were diagnosed with heart problems during a cardiac examination. -ups on 106 children over the age of five.

Similarly, six other children were found suffering from rheumatic heart disease during a three-day health camp held at Dolakha district hospital this week.

“We carried out health checks on 300 children and discovered that twelve suffered from heart disease. The rate of cardiac patients in children is quite high,” said Dr. Anish Joshi, senior cardiologist at Dhulikhel Hospital in Kavre. According to him, the number of heart patients among children is low. “When we screen 1,000 children for heart disease, we find one child with heart problems, but this time the number is staggering,” Joshi said.

Dhulikhel Hospital, with the support of the Nepal Heart Foundation, has launched a free heart check-up campaign for children in Dolakha. The hospital reaches out to communities and performs tests on children using an electrocardiogram and an ultrasound machine.

According to experts, heart disease in children has been on the rise in recent years, mainly due to poor eating habits and environmental pollution. Lack of regular health checkup during pregnancy and lack of nutritious food during pregnancy can also cause heart problems in children. “There will be problems in the future if heart disease is not identified in children in time. Treatment is possible if the disease is diagnosed in time,” Shrestha said.

According to Shrestha, four of Dolakha’s 12 children with heart disease have inborn heart problems while eight others may have rheumatic heart disease. Dr Shrestha suspects that heart disease is increasing in children after the Covid-19 pandemic. “Many children in remote villages could suffer from Covid-19 but are deprived of proper treatment, leading to health complications. We are still conducting research on the subject,” Shrestha said.

According to Shrestha, most children with heart disease are prone to pneumonia and are underweight. The federal government provides free treatment for heart disease in children. In recent times, heart diseases are increasing among children, mainly due to neglect and lack of awareness of their parents.

According to Raj Kumar Dangal, Medical Director of Dolakha Hospital, heart problems among children have increased in the district over the past few years. “We started the campaign to screen children’s hearts and raise awareness about heart health by visiting communities,” Dangal said.