First Lady Margaret Kenyatta last evening opened a unique conference of internationally renown medical experts gathering in Nairobi to explore solutions to tackle rising cases of cardiovascular diseases in Africa.
The three-day conference that ends today brings together foremost medical experts from all over the world including USA, United Kingdom, Asia and various parts of Africa.
The conference, being held under the aegis of Stemi (ST-elevation Myocardial Infarction)-Africa showcases the latest developments and solutions to heart attack management.
It brings together General Practitioners, Cardiologists and Cardiac Surgeons, Physician Trainees and allied health care staff involved in heart attack management.
The First Lady said Africa faces unique development challenges and must urgently look for innovative, practical and custom made solutions to accelerate progress in reducing deaths and disability occasioned by heart diseases.
She underlined the need for increased research, credible data to inform health policy decisions, investment priorities and resource allocation and an urgent need to address barriers that contribute towards existing gaps in medical care as some of the solutions to the emerging monster of heart disease.
Heart attacks are the commonest causes of death around the world. The latest projections suggest that by 2030, more people in Africa will die from the condition that causes heart attacks.
Most Kenyans experiencing a heart attack do not realize the symptoms until it is too late and will delay seeking treatment.
Sadly, said the First Lady, younger people who are also the working generation, have been largely affected, creating a cascade of societal and more developmental challenges.
Dealing with the new health challenge, she said, requires a cultivation of reliable and strong partnership both in public and private sector, between professionals, governments and development partners.
“I have no doubt that we, as a country and as a continent, have what it takes to advance our strategy for tackling the cardiovascular disease. Let us together strengthen our resolve and commitment towards heart attack management in Africa and in the world”, said the First Lady.
She said health is a precursor to development and growth and this is why the country has steadily implemented key legislation and policy interventions in health as well as making strategic investments not only in expanding access, but in diagnostic and human capacity.
The First Lady said the revolution in the health sector over the years has dramatically changed the health landscape-shifting global focus from infectious to non-communicable diseases.
“This has contributed to a crippling ‘double burden of disease’ that many African countries are ill equipped to cope with – leading to major challenges to the already fragile capacity of our health systems”, she added.
The conference incorporates live case presentations, patient interviews, panel discussions, breakaway workshops and an exhibition of latest developments in medical science especially in the area of cardiovascular diseases.
The professionals are discussing and seeking solutions to heart attacks right from the time of symptom onset through the first contact with a General Practitioner or Emergency Room management through cardiac intervention and treatment.
Core messages of the conference include the holistic approach to myocardial infarction management from awareness, to transport, to hospital management as well as the complex coronary intervention in the cardiac catheterization lab.
The First Lady thanked Stemi-Africa and all its partners for the important initiative of bringing the conference to Nairobi.
Others who addressed the opening session of the conference included the chair of Africa Stemi Live, Dr. Mohamed Jeilan, Dr. Thomas Alexander from Stemi-India and Dr. Robert Mathenge of Heart Concern Kenya.