Meeting African needs
Among non-communicable diseases, cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest threats to Ghana’s population, which has a 37 percent prevalence rate of hypertension, according to Lin Chunying, head of the Chinese cardiac experts’ team in Ghana.
“What Ghana needs most is technical know-how and cardiovascular specialists who can use technology to treat heart diseases,” said Lin. “The aim of this medical assistance project is to train Ghanaian doctors how to conduct heart surgeries themselves,” she said.
This would mean patients don’t need to drive more than 200 km to Ghana’s capital Accra to implant pacemakers. They could do it in Kumasi, Lin said.
In addition, Ghana has not conducted risk factor surveys to establish the national baseline prevalence rates and accurately quantify the magnitude of noncommunicable diseases.
To address this issue, a cardiovascular risk research center will be set up at KATH, in collaboration with the Guangdong Cardiovascular Institute.
“The center will help to identify the actual causes, risk factors and come out with appreciative strategies to address some of the causes,” said Doctor Isaac Kofi Owusu, head of the Cardiac Unit at KATH.
For a start, since September, the institute has worked with KATH’S Cardiothoracic Center to conduct a sixweek research project titled “Prevalence of cardiovascu-