Global hearts initiative to save Ugandan from heart diseases

A new initiative seeking to beat back the global threat of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes is to be rolled out in Uganda.

Code-named Global Hearts, the initiative is an alliance between the World Health Organization , the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Heart Federation, the World Stroke Organization, the International Society of Hypertension, and the World Hypertension League.

The project aims to scale up measures to reduce salt and tobacco use and strengthen health care services for dealing with cardiovascular disease.  It will initially be rolled out in Barbados, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Tajikistan, Thailand and Uganda, according to a statement released by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

More than 17 million people die annually from cardiovascular disease, making the ailments- the world’s leading cause of death. Uganda loses a total of 353,000 people to cardiovascular diseases every year, according to statistics by the World Health Organisation.

Over three quarters of these are a result of unhealthy behaviors, including tobacco use, eating foods containing too much salt and inadequate physical activity resulting into heart attacks and strokes. The WHO records indicate that the probability of dying between ages 30 and 70 years in Uganda, as a result of cardiovascular diseases, stands at 21 percent.

But the country does not have an operational policy or action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol, the burden of tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, or even a national population-based cancer registry.

WHO Director for the Management of Non Communicable Diseases Dr Etienne Krug says countries like Uganda will be supported to scale up tested, affordable and adaptable measures to make their health services better able to detect and treat people at risk of, or suffering from, heart disease.