NICVD Golden Jubilee Seminar: Experts call for primary prevention program against non-communicable diseases

KARACHI: The cardiologists and other medical experts on Sunday called for prioritizing the strategies aimed at prevention of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular, diabetes and different kinds of cancer and stressed on involving communities to achieve the results.

“The community involvement and especially that of women, girls, school and college teachers and students is must to achieve the goal of changing the life style of people particularly of the young generation,” they said speaking at a session on “Primary Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases” on concluding day of golden jubilee celebration of National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases NICVD at a local hotel.

“The community should have the will to bring a change. We must interact with community and convince to play its role in developing a healthy nation,” Prof. Emeritus Kalimuddin Aziz said in his presentation referring to positive results of a study involving communities.

“The life style changes are needed at early age. If you are grown up, it’s difficult to accept the change,” he viewed urging for adopting this strategy.

Dr. Saulat Siddiqui, Professor of Cardiology, Sheikh Zayed Postgraduate Medical Institute, Lahore in his presentation “Hypertension – a silent killer”, also called for creating awareness among masses. “The people must know hazards of high blood pressure and how to measure BP correctly. The incorrect reading also creates anxiety among cardiac patients.

Prof. Masood Hameed, Vice Chancellor of Dow University, who co-chaired the session along with renowned specialist Dr. Samad Shera, lamented that the policy makers never focused on this grave issue and neither framed policies nor did they established more institutes of cardiovascular diseases despite growing population and increasing number of cardiac patients.

“This is high time to devise preventive strategies for the country, which lacks financial resources. We must impart training to the women so that they could teach to their children about healthy and active life style,” he urged.

Prof. Abdul Basit of Baqai Medical University, Karachi presented results of some studies carried out in Lyari and 16 villages of Hub area regarding obesity. He urged for developing national primary care network, as according to him hundreds of thousands of diabetic patients across the country cannot visit hospitals. “There is no other way but to change life style to prevent diabetes,” he exhorted. He explained salient features of Primary Preventive Program PPP launched by Baqai Medical University.

Dr. Javed Khan, Prof. at Aga Khan University, Karachi, in his presentation on hazards of tobacco use, said Rs.200 billion are burnt annually by smoking in Pakistan. He lamented that law exists against smoking at public places, sale and consumption of Gutka and despite orders of crackdown, the Shisha clubs and restaurants are operating openly under the nose of administration.

“The law is not implemented in Pakistan with the result that even the hospitals are not safe, which must be smoke free,” he said also held doctors responsible for it. “The 30 percent doctors in Pakistan are smokers.” Stating that one hundred thousand people die every year in Pakistan due to smoking, he urged the government for imposing ban on tobacco advertisements. He lamented that cigarettes are cheaper than bread in Pakistan where the majority of people have to live in abject poverty. Dr. Ajmal Kazmi, an eminent psychiatrist, spoke on prevalence of depressive disorder in patients with cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Samad Shera, Dr. Bashir Hanif of Tabba Heart Institute, Dr. Naila Zahid, Dr. Waqar Kazmi and others also spoke.

The golden jubilee celebration concluded with a session on “Ethics of Medical Profession”. Prof. Dr. Adeeb Rizvi, head of Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplant, chaired the session. Dr. Idrees Adhi, president, Pakistan Medical Association, Karachi Chapter, spoke on “Industry-Doctor Relations” and said there do exist a conflict of ethics and interests. According to him there exists no authority where a patient can go and lodge a complaint.

He said are unhealthy practices in doctor-industry relations and added that they both doctors and pharmaceutical industries know it very well. Prof. Anwar Naqvi of Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplant spoke on organ transplant.

Prof. Adeeb Rizvi in his address said the doctors use to prescribe the drugs of those companies who are in contact with him and they not focus on properly treating the patients. This practice contributes a lot to complication of diseases, as the patients use medicines trusting the doctors.

He also touched the malpractices in donating kidneys and said this also is a main cause of increase in different diseases.

Prof. Khan Shah Zaman in his concluding remarks resolved to continue efforts for offering best services to the ailing people. He said the objective of this seminar was to disseminate information about the cardiac diseases, preventive measures and removing the misperceptions.

He said NICVD believes in primary prevention as the growing population is causing pressures on institutions related to cardiovascular diseases. “The government as well as the general public is short of financial resources and the only way to get rid of cardiac diseases is primary prevention.”