Tanzanians Encouraged to Go for Regular Heart Check-Ups

TENDENCY by most patients not seeking regular medical care contributes to rising cases of heart diseases in the country which are potentially preventable.

The Director of Clinical Support Services at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI), Dr Delila Kimambo, disclosed on the sidelines of echocardiogram training (heart surgery using ultrasound) conducted by the institute through the support of Merck in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.

The training brought together 80 heart specialists and other hospital attendants in the region operating in the cadre to obtain knowledge on the best practices of attending to patients and detection of heart problems through the procedure.

According to Dr Kimambo, most patients often go late for medical care while the diseases are already in a critical stage.

"Most people usually start by visiting our district, regional and other hospitals with specialised heart services before coming here, we found it crucial to conduct the training to add up to the knowledge they already have in the area of echocardiogram. By building capacity of medical staffs, it also helps in early detection of diseases and in turn saves a lot of cost to be incurred by the government," said Dr Kimambo.

She pointed out that the session is also going to create a good consultation network in case the physicians face challenges when attending to patients. Considering the fact that the response of the participants was appealing, she said they hoped to make the session continuous and extend it to other parts of the country to facilitate delivery of health services to patients.

JKCI Director of Cardiology, Dr Peter Kisenge observed that the training went hand in hand with pacemaker device implantation to 21 patients suffering from heart failures and a problem of electrical conduction system through the support of 'Madaktari' Africa.

Dr Kisenge noted that the camp which started on Monday and ended yesterday saved over 800m/- to be spent by the government for treatment abroad. "We attended to patients whose heart beats were as low as 40 per minute and those with heart failure of less than 35 percent...we implanted special batteries identified as ICD and CRTD to prevent them from facing sudden deaths," said Dr Kisenge.

He established that the problem is caused by severe alcohol consumption, smoking, poor lifestyles and old age, calling on people to adopt healthy lifestyles to overcome attack of heart diseases.

A specialist from the Department of Hypertension Clinic at the Amana Hospital, Dr. Natalius Kapilima applauded JKCI for the initiative to increase their knowledge on the procedure. With the knowledge they have obtained, Dr. Kapilima said they intend to bring in new machines which will boost efficiency in delivery of heart surgery by ultra sound.

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