First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has opened a major conference focusing on management of heart diseases and the unique challenge it poses in Africa.
The Africa Stemi Live 2018 Conference held at a Nairobi hotel strives to engage all key healthcare professionals involved in the prevention and treatment of patients with acute coronary syndromes.
The two day conference which is being attended by 300 health practitioners from across Africa, Europe, America and Middle East will introduce the ‘Heart of Africa’ meeting, which aims to broaden the discussion beyond acute coronary syndromes.
It will take a focused approach to unique African challenges in cardiovascular disease.
While opening the conference on Friday evening, the First Lady expressed optimism that the recommendations made at the conference would help advance national strategies for tackling cardiovascular disease.
“I thank Africa STEMI for this important conference that has successfully brought together professionals with diverse expertise to come up with a joint vision to tackle cardiovascular disease,” said the First Lady.
The First Lady said more investment in research; knowledge, access and information are critical in helping the country to address cardiovascular disease.
She regretted that majority of Kenyans lack access to the immediate care required to save their lives due to lack of information.
“We have heard that Hypertension is the most common cardiovascular disease caused by lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, our youth, who are our future working generation have been increasingly affected,” said the First Lady.
She expressed gratitude that the Government, through the Health Ministry, has committed resources and training of community health workers across the country to expand efforts to combat the rise of cardiovascular disease.
“The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) has integrated cardiovascular care, as an outpatient service, in prevention and detection of hypertension to shield patients, and their families from a cascade of financial challenges that result from this disease,” said the First Lady.
She pointed out that collaboration and partnerships between the public-private sectors are critical in expanding efforts to increase access and build capacity to deal with the disease within the country.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Rashid Aman said the Ministry is rolling out a universal and comprehensive heath care package to ensure that all Kenyans have access to quality cardiovascular diseases care so as to shield them from catastrophic costs caused by the disease.
He commended the Africa Stemi live for holding the conference for a second time in Kenya and for its resolve to empower County health systems to devolve cardiac care and streamline the referral care.
The Chairperson of Heart Attack Concern Kenya Dr. Robert Mathenge said, the cardiovascular disease is not normal but rather a lifestyle disease, which can be prevented by ensuring people have access to critical information on how to lead healthy lifestyles.