In what appears to be a united font to tackle the increasing prevalence of heart diseases in Nigeria, four South-west governors, politicians, players in the healthcare industry, and the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, have called on Nigerians to avoid lifestyles that predisposes to cardiovascular disease, which is becoming a prominent health burden for the country.
They believed with one in every five Nigerians said to be suffering from one of the various forms of cardiovascular diseases and at risk of premature death, every stakeholder in the country needs to stress about preventive care, while putting in place world class health facilities to tackle heart problems.
Speaking at the First Annual Black Tie Gala to raise funds in support of cardiovascular care in Nigeria, Adewole said unhealthy diets contribute significantly to the development of non communicable disease in Nigeria, hence the need for the citizens to watch what they eat.
“Sadly, there is widespread low consumption of proteins, fruits and vegetables and increasing patronage of fast food outlets by the population. There is also large promotion of sweetened products such as carbonated drinks,pastries, candies and other refined sugars, while excessive intake of salt is promoted by food additives such as monosodium glutamate common indelicacies such as suya, kilisi, isi-ewu, ngwo-ngwo, among others.”
On his part, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Tristate Heart Foundation, Chief Bisi Akande, while cautioning Nigerians on the need to take care of their health, urged the federal government to remove high import duty on medical equipment and consumables by
granting tax holidays to medical devices’ manufacturers and encouraging local production.
“Above all, we must ensure health insurance scheme for our people because if health insurance is made compulsory, then organisations like ours will have fewer objectives to contend with. We must stop paying lip service to the health sector because a healthy nation is a productive nation.
Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who chaired the event, said the state would do all its best to support the initiative of the Foundation, adding that he was sure Lagosians will benefit immensely from the cardiovascular care centre. He donated N100 million to the cause.
Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, who said he once thought he had immunity from illness, until his daughter, who is a medical doctor checked his blood pressure and told him, “Daddy, you are going,” adding that from that day he realised he had hypertension, which does not show signs. He therefore called on Nigerians to constantly check their health status.
Adding his voice, Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, who donated N10 million on behalf of the state and N5 million on behalf of his family, said he was elated that the centre was situated in his state.
Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, said the importance of heart health cannot be over emphasised, hence the need for everyone to take it seriously. He donated N10 million on behalf of the state and his family.
President/Chief Executive Officer of TCA, Prof Kamar Adeleke, said the funds would be spent on Nigerians with heart related issues without funds for treatment or management.
Members of the foundation’s board include Mr. John Momoh (Vice-Chairman), former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Joseph Sanusi, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President, Abubakar Mahmoud(SAN), Mrs. Claire Omatseye, among others.