The Ghana Society of Cardiology (GSC) has advised Ghanaians to pay attention to their health to prevent them from diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
According to the society, people were not paying attention to their nutritional needs, leading to high rates of heart and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The worst part, it said, was that the country had a shortage of cardiologists, with a ratio of over one million people to one cardiologist.
The cardiologists gave the advice at the second annual general meeting and launch of the society in Accra yesterday.
The President of the society, Professor Isaac K. Owusu, said Ghana needed to train more cardiologists if it was to meet the rate at which NCDs were increasing in the country.
According to him, cardiac arrest was the leading cause of death, as well as the major cause of hospital attendance, in Ghana and mentioned risk factors associated with cardiac diseases to include hypertension and obesity.
He said one in every 10 adults in the country had hypertension, while one in 10 also had diabetes.
He said as stakeholders, there was the need to find solutions to the menace, ‘else there will be a disaster’.
Giving statistics on the number of cardiologists in the country, Prof.Owusu said there were only 20 cardiologists across the country, with more than half of them concentrated in Accra and Kumasi.
He said the Komfo Anokye and the Korle Bu Teaching hospitals had six cardiologists each, while the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital had two; Brong Ahafo and Bono one; Eastern one; Western and Northern had one and two, respectively, who were still undergoing training, with the other four regions of the north, Volta and Oti not having any.
A Chief Programmes Officer of the Ministry of Health, Dr Baffour Awuah, called on the GSC to collaborate with the ministry to come up with incentives which would entice cardiologists to work in remote parts of the country.
He said the MoH, together with other stakeholders, had completed a national drug policy on NCDs for the country and that it would soon be introduced.
He further called for partnerships among stakeholders to ensure that the issue of high NCDs in the country was dealt with.
The Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the second AGM of the society, Dr Joseph Atiah Akamah, said people with CVDs or those at high risk due to factors such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidaemia or an already established disease, needed early detection and management.
Dr Akamah, who is also the Head of Cardiology at Korle Bu, said most CVDs could be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.