Members of the Lower Chamber of Parliament, yesterday, resolved to act decisively against heart diseases after a senior medical expert gave a presentation on the situation with regard to heart diseases, in the country.
Dr Joseph Mucumbitsi, the president of Rwandan Heart Foundation, told the MPs that cardiovascular heart diseases constituted a serious threat in Rwanda, although most people don’t seem to realize it.
Following his presentation, Vice Speaker Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, urged his colleagues in the House to act immediately by passing preventive instruments such as anti-public smoking law, and to sensitise the public to carry out physical exercises regularly.
Ntawukuriryayo emphasized the need to vigorously promote preventive measures, which, he said, will cut on medical expenses.
Dr Mucumbitsi gave an example of Rwinkwanvu Hospital in the Eastern Province where a recent study indicated that at least 20% of patients who visit the hospital have cardiovascular heart diseases.
“If we assessed closely, we might find that every hospital registers almost the same percentage, which would be a very big number; the problem is that these diseases don’t kill quickly but you spend a lot of time without being productive, yet you are spending a lot of money for treatment. All this impacts negatively on the economy,” explained Dr Mucumbitsi.
“In Africa, for a long time we didn’t think that diseases such as hypertension, stroke and rheumatic heart diseases, were a serious threat to our lives.”
He also requested MPs to expedite the law on smoking, saying it is one of the major causes of cardiovascular heart diseases.
Other causes, he said, include alcohol, oily foods, salt, and sugar as well as body unfitness. Mucumbitsi, however, said no comprehensive study on the diseases has been carried out across the country.
He observed that on the internationally scene, cardiovascular heart diseases were a bigger threat than HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
Referring to WHO statistics, Mucumbitsi said that over 17.8 million of the world population succumbs to heart diseases compared to the HIV/Aids death toll which stands at 2.7 million. 80% of cardiovascular deaths occur in developing countries.
Mucumbitsi added that about 20 million people in Africa are believed to have hypertension.
Rwandan Heart Foundation will tomorrow conclude a one-week public campaign against cardiovascular heart diseases, as the world marks Heart Day.