As part of efforts to stem the tide against heart-related diseases, the Medical Director, United Heart Hospital and Clinics (UHHC), Lagos, Dr. Eugene Nwosu, has called on Nigerians to improve their eating lifestyle, dental hygiene, among others.
The cardiologist, who practised for 33 years in the United States and other developed countries, identified some of the risk factors for heart disease as: eating poorly, old age, high blood pressure, diabetes and irregular physical exercise. Others are high cholesterol in the body, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, family history, stress, pollution and, interestingly, poor dental hygiene.
Speaking to newsmen at the opening of UHHC - a cardiovascular and cardiology centre, in Lagos recently, he said when people hear right, heart disease can be decreased by 99 per cent.
"When certain precautions are taken, the risk factors could be brought to the barest minimal. The first thing is to have the knowledge of how to take care of oneself against cardiovascular infections. It is important to eat the right foods and avoid sedentary lifestyle play a big role in curtailing heart failure, stroke other sudden attacks that don't come with symptoms.
Nwosu said there were a lot of rot and needs in Nigeria. "I'm aware of the lack of specialists here, underfunded healthcare system, lack of infrastructure and poor remuneration for medical workers. This is why I am here to contribute my quota to addressing these issues."
According to him, some of the lacks in Nigeria are: under-funded healthcare, infrastructure, poor salary, shortage of doctors - especially specialists. "Nigerians are flocking all over the world looking for answer - India, South Africa, England, UK, Egypt. They just go to anywhere. And sometimes the outcome has not been good and they wasting a lot of foreign money.
Among his other reasons to return include to establish a clinic of an international repute, to attract his colleagues abroad to return home and contribute their own quota to the development of the healthcare industry.
The MD decried the government's attitude towards resurrecting the sector. He canvassed health insurance scheme, saying kidney failure and other complex ailments were too expensive to treat from personal pocket. "The 33 years I spent in America, I didn't see or hear of strike in any city there. Nigerian doctors are paupers I must be sincere with you."
Speaking also, the former Managing Director, Daily Times, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, said there was no better place for cardiovascular centre of the magnitude and standard founded by Nwosu. "Nigeria has serious challenges in many areas. But we can make a difference in cardiovascular diseases. Lagos is proud to have complementary private sector practice to cater to the health challenges of the teeming population. "
United Hearts embraces mentorship. "We are training young doctors. We are mortals. We shall die someday. That means if you don't help to pass on the training to younger ones, that knowledge is wasted when you die. Hence, I take a lot of interest in trying to mentor my young doctors. Character matters, too. Things don't work in this country because of character. People are not committed. The productivity is so low. People want to get paid and not do any job and that is acceptable. In the States, it is not so."
Now, among the 15 services United Hearts is known for include: ECG, cardia monitor, ambulatory blood pressure monitor, exercise stress test, stress echocardiogram, transthoracic echocardiogram and health education among others.
Nwosu, therefore, harped on prevention. "It is very expensive to treat heart-related diseases in the country. So, prevention is cheaper and advisable."