KARACHI   -   Healthcare system in Pakistan is incapable of treating even one-third of patients with cardiovascular diseases where around 50 people are dying every hour due to heart attacks and other diseases of cardiovascular system in the country, eminent cardiologists and health experts said on Saturday and called for collaborative efforts to promote preventive cardiology with focus on lifestyle modifications and eliminating or reducing risk factors for the cardiac ailments.

They were speaking at a day-long national conference on preventive cardiology “CardioPrevent 2019”, organized by the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), Karachi in collaboration with a local pharmaceutical company in connection with World Heart Day 2019.

Experts deplored that number of people, especially youngsters dying due to cardiovascular disease in Pakistan was alarmingly on the rise as over 1,100 people were daily losing their lives due to heart attacks in Pakistan where obesity, hypertension and diabetes were increasing day by day due to physical inactivity while childhood obesity was also very high because of sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet.

Smoking, they further deplored, was still the number one cause of deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cancers and pulmonary ailments, and added that despite recommendations from the healthcare sector, cigarettes were cheapest commodity in the country as compared to India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even Afghanistan.

Top of the line cardiologists from not only Karachi but other cities of Pakistan including Peshawar attended the moot and stressed the need for promoting preventive cardiology in the country to lower the burden of heart patients from the healthcare system.

On the occasion, the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pakistani multinational Getz Pharma for the promotion of preventive cardiology, promoting healthy lifestyle and other measures as part of a joint preventive cardiology program in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, the Executive Director NICVD Prof. Nadeem Qamar said although they were treating the bulk of cardiovascular patients in Pakistan through main NICVD and its dozens of Satellite Centers and Chest Pain Units, they were so far failed in reducing the number of cardiovascular patients by educating and convincing the people to take measures to prevent themselves from heart ailments.

“I concede that we have failed to convince people for adopting healthy lifestyle, adopting measures to prevent themselves from cardiovascular disease. Number of patients with heart disease is alarmingly on the rise but we are not capable of treating all of them”, Prof. Qamar said, adding that it was the right time that cardiologists, media, civil society, government and pharmaceutical sector joint hands to tackle the menace of cardiovascular diseases in Pakistan.

“Now we have launched an aggressive preventive cardiology program which is being led-by Prof. Khawar Kazmi and we have lots of plan to promote preventive cardiology in the country”, he maintained.

Former Vice Chancellor Khyber Medical University, Peshawar and eminent cardiologist Prof. Mohammad Hafizullah said smoking was still the leading cause of cardiovascular disease and deaths due to heart attacks as well as other lethal diseases in Pakistan and added that by controlling smoking and other forms of smoking, deaths due to heart attacks could be lowered by 30 percent in Pakistan.

“Pakistan is not capable of treating all the patients with cardiovascular ailments so the people dying due to heart attacks are on the rise in the country. The only option left for us is prevention from cardiovascular diseases as well as other Non-Communicable Diseases”, Prof. Hafizullah said and urged the government to immediately invest in this area to lower the growing burden of hospitals and the country’s fragile economy.