Nigeria: World Heart Day - Nigerian Govt Laments Rising Deaths From Hypertension, Stroke, Others

29 September 2023

Statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that Cardiovascular Diseases are the foremost cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year.

The Nigerian government has said the number of deaths from Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD), including hypertension, heart failure, cardiac arrest, and stroke, among others, is rising rapidly in the country.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, made this known during an event to commemorate the 2023 World Heart Day in Abuja on Friday.

Represented by the Minister of State for Health, Tunji Alausa, Mr Pate said the country's morbidity and mortality due to CVDs are underestimated because of inadequate awareness, limited screening, and poor data repository.

He said statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that CVDs are the leading Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), and are the foremost cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year.

He said 85 per cent of deaths from CVD are due to heart attack and stroke, and over three-quarters occur in low- and middle-income countries.

"The 2018 WHO country profiles show that NCDs accounted for 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria with CVDs responsible for 11 per cent of all the NCD deaths," he said.

"The country profile also shows that the risk of dying prematurely from NCDs in Nigeria is 22 per cent. Premature mortality in this instance is defined as death occurring between ages 30 and 70 years from any of the common NCDs."

CVD in Nigeria

Mr Pate said although the ministry is currently conducting the national steps survey of NCDs, pockets of studies in Nigeria report various incidences and prevalence of CVDs such as hypertension at a prevalence greater than 30 per cent, stroke incidence at 25.9 per 100,000 persons per year between 2000 and 2015.

He said studies also show coronary heart disease prevalence at 0.7 per cent; and rheumatic heart disease, which is a disease of the socio-economically disadvantaged, at 27 per 1,000 children.

"It is pertinent to state that the morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria are underestimated because of inadequate awareness and health-seeking behaviours as well as limited screening, diagnostic and therapeutic services including poor data repository," he said.

"Given the silent and chronic nature of the majority of cardiovascular diseases, it is important to institute long-lasting measures to prevent, detect, and manage them early to avert complications such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and even death."

World Heart Day

World Heart Day is marked on 29 September annually to raise awareness about the importance of the heart and promote preventive measures to reduce the global impact and burden of heart diseases.

The theme for this year's commemoration is; "Use Heart, Know Heart".

Mr Pate said beyond encouraging people to learn more about their hearts and how to keep them healthy, the theme also encourages people to show care and compassion to people suffering from heart problems.

"It reminds us that taking care of our hearts and those of others is not only a medical necessity but also a fundamental act of self-love and care for our loved ones," he said.

Cardiac Emergency Response Box

At the event, the minister unveiled the Cardiac Emergency Response Box, otherwise known as Automated External Defibrillators (AED), to respond to heart emergencies such as cardiac arrest.

Mr Pate said the boxes that were donated by the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) would be deployed to appropriate designated high-population areas such as airports.

He said AEDs are portable, life-saving medical devices used to revive sudden heart arrest.

In his remark, the Director of Public Health at the ministry, Chukwuma Anyaike, said most of the issues with the heart have to do with one's lifestyle and eating pattern.

Mr Anyaike said this is causing the death of millions of people globally.

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