Doctors get training in early detection of heart diseases

DPI, Guyana, Monday, March 25, 2019

Medical doctors, specifically those at the Primary Health care level will be better equipped with the requisite knowledge in early detection of heart diseases. This comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO), through its Global Hearts initiative, is supporting the government of Guyana in scaling efforts in the prevention and control of Cardiovascular diseases.

The doctors attached to health centres and hospitals across Guyana are engaged in a two-day capacity building workshop from March 25-26 at the Marriott, Kingston, Georgetown.

The capacity-building exercise, which is being hosted by PAHO/WHO office in Guyana, will see consultants, Dr. Kenneth Connell and Professor Donald DiPette addressing behavioural risk factors for heart diseases by considering population-wide strategies while encouraging individual based interventions.

Dr. Paul Edwards, Advisor, Health Systems and Services, PAHO/WHO opened the two-day session by stating that, “Guyana is not immune to the effects of globalisation as western lifestyles have infiltrated our culture causing unhealthy modifications to our diet. We now consume more foods, high in trans-fats and salt, sit in front of the television or computer for hours at a time in addition to having higher per capita alcohol consumption that most of our Caribbean and Latin American counterparts.”

Dr. Edwards also stressed that while provision is being made for screening and earlier detection of Cardiovascular Diseases, prevention mechanisms that can be implemented.

“Comprehensive tobacco control policies, taxation to reduce the intake of food that are high in fat, sugar and salt, build walking and cycle paths to increase physical activity, strategies to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and providing healthy school meals to children,” he emphasised.

Dr. Connell hinted that this is a timely intervention as it encourages an examination of “government-driven policies” influencing the expected outcomes of the workshop being hosted.

He noted that the training of these medical professionals was hosted, “to improve the performance of the healthcare delivery team in order to improve cardiovascular disease outcomes. Now that seems simple enough. It is actually quite a big challenge because when you think about it the number of resources that are spent internationally regionally and even locally and we are still not quite on target when it comes to cardiovascular diseases.”

The Global Hearts Initiative was launched in 2016, to assist countries like Guyana in offsetting the death rate burden due to heart diseases.

The Global Hearts Initiative comprises three technical packages which are incorporated into this capacity building exercise. MPOWER tobacco control policies, SHAKE salt reduction and HEARTS for the prevent heart attacks and strokes through equitable access to ongoing, standardised and quality care.

PAHO/WHO is committed to the cause of reducing morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular diseases while strengthening the overall health sector response for treatment, prevention and control of cardiovascular disease. Essentially, the aim is to enhance the capacity of healthcare providers working at the level of primary care to adequately manage cardiovascular diseases

Globally, Cardiovascular (Heart) Diseases are the leading causes of death followed by Hypertension, Stroke, Diabetes and Cancer respectively. An estimated 17.9M individuals died from Cardiovascular Diseases in 2016 representing 31 per cent of all global deaths. Of these deaths, 85 per cent were due to heart attack or stroke and 3/4 of these deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

Delicia Haynes.

Images: Marceano Narine.