The poor are more prone to heart diseases, say speakers

The provincial health minister, Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, said that cardiovascular diseases were more common among poor people as compared to the rich and affluent class.

Speaking at the ‘International Conference on Cardiology’  organised by the Triple-E, a preventive awareness entrepreneur, in collaboration with the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) and the provincial health department at the Movenpick Hotel on Wednesday, the minister urged the need for awareness among the entire population.

“Unfortunately, the poor and less educated have started living a sedentary lifestyle, while the lack of financial resources and economic stress has also resulted in increased heart ailments,” he maintained.

He said there is an urgent need to create awareness among the people by holding awareness sessions in areas where the marginalised and low socio-economic groups live. “It doesn’t make sense to talk about poor people in five-star hotels,” he said. “We should reach out to the localities of common people and make them aware of the habits that are causing diseases,” he added.

“I failed to achieve the targets for the health department within six months but the situation has improved by almost 30 per cent in the past year,” claimed Dahar.

The minister said that similar treatment facilities were being provided at the Gambat Institute of Health Sciences, including a liver transplant facility, which would open shortly, adding that the provincial government had requested Dr Adibul Hassan Rizvi to establish an institute like SIUT in Sukkur, for which all the resources will be provided by the government. He also said that the people of Hyderabad will have a facility like NICVD soon.

“There should be a complete ban on smoking,” urged the executive director Dr Nadeem Qamar. “We’ll talk to legislators to bring the bill on banning tobacco in Pakistan,” he added. “Everybody knows that smoking is injurious for their health but it is also detrimental for the national economy. We spend a lot more money on treatment of diseases caused by the smoking as compared to what the government earns from taxation on its sale, he claimed.

Dr Qamar announced that the NICVD will arrange a monthly awareness session at public places, adding that several steps have been taken to improve the facility. “We’ll make it the world’s best facility.”

Sharing measures taken during his tenure, Dr Qamar said that the capacity of hospital has been increased from 1,300 bypasses to 2,500 annually. The intensive care units have been increased from 14 to 22. Patients, he added, have to come again and again for check-ups and different tests but they will be able to avail all the facilities in a single trip by October.

He said provincial government has increased the NICVD’s grant from Rs400 million to Rs1.1 billion, adding that provincial government had provided Rs1.8 billion for the establishment of a paediatric surgery unit at the cardiovascular institute.

On the occasion, senior cardiologists, including Dr Syed Ishtiaq Rasool, Dr Zahid Jamal and Dr Nadeem Rizvi, urged people to adopt a healthy lifestyle, lower their cholesterol level, hypertension and diabetes by doing regular exercises and eating healthy and balanced diet, as according to them, heart ailments are even more lethal than cancer and other communicable and non-communicable diseases.

They expressed their fear that coronary heart diseases will rise in Pakistan and its heavily populated cities, saying that the only solution to lower the burden of disease was prevention through awareness.