Keep supporting Ghana Heart Foundation — Dr Serebour

BY: Charles Ehun Andoh
Dr Lawrence Agyeman Serebour is the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre
Dr Lawrence Agyeman Serebour is the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre

The Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre (NCTC) at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Lawrence Agyeman Serebour, has appealed to the public to continue to support the Ghana Heart Foundation (GHF) to be able to cater for those undergoing heart surgeries and operations.

According to him, contributions to the foundation had been dwindling.

In an interview, Dr Serebour said the GHF would restrategise and reach out to a lot of people across the country to yield the necessary support for the foundation.

Cost of surgeries
He said the cost of heart surgeries in Ghana was expensive and a lot of people undergoing the procedure were not able to afford it, noting that it was necessary because whenever people went through successful heart surgeries, the quality of life was restored.

He, for instance, estimated the cost of closing an average hole-in-heart between $5,000 and $6,000.

2021 World Heart Day
World Heart Day is commemorated on September 29 every year.

The theme for this year’s event was “Use heart to connect.”

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s event was held through virtual means, zoom, for people to join from the comfort of their homes and offices.

In a short address, Dr Serebour said there was the need to connect with people with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) through technology in order that they would not feel lonely.

“Over here, we have started by chatting with patients through WhatsApp on their medication and other key information about their health. There are applications online that can help you exercise, monitor your weight, blood pressure, sugar level etc. That is what we are promoting this year.

“Currently, we have a collaboration with an IT Consortium, and they have introduced an app known as Chango; www.changoapp.com to reach out to patients with heart diseases. It also enables people to donate to help those who cannot afford the heart surgery,” he said.

Individual actions
The director of the centre added that it was important for people to adopt good health practices such as eating balanced meals, exercising, having enough rest and doing away with smoking (partial smoking, shisha, cigar, pipes).

He said every year, between 35,000 and 40,000 Ghanaians, excluding children, visited the centre with various forms of CVDs, adding that the number could go up with time due to lifestyle changes.

“We should limit processed foods and those that are high in salt, sugar and fat. Instead of taking in such drinks, take in a lot of water. The World Heart Federation is also telling us to use our hearts to get more active. People with heart diseases are particularly at risk of severe disease and death.

“The good thing about this is that all of us can practice certain simple measures as individuals, communities and societies. We can enact regulations that will ensure that certain practices which expose people to CVDs are minimised. Ten per cent of Ghanaians are hypertensive but many do not know, and this also leads to heart attack, kidney failure, stroke or blindness,” he said.

He, therefore, advised that by 40 years, it was important for people to start checking their hearts consistently.