Nigeria has one doctor per 10,000 people to treat heart disease – Cardiologists

There is only one cardiologist to treat 10,000 Nigerians, the Nigerian Cardiac Society revealed on Tuesday.

CIRI reports that cardiologists, also known as cardiologists, specialize in conditions of the heart and other parts of the cardiovascular system.

In August, a report showed that Nigeria had a doctor-patient ratio of 1-5,000 due to brain drain, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended 1-600.

Speaking to reporters at an event ahead of its 51st Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference in Abuja, Nigerian Cardiac Society President Okechukwu Ogah, a medical doctor, said there were only seven cardiologists in the country in 1971 when the association was created.

He said that despite the current shortage of cardiologists compared to the Nigerian population, many doctors were leaving the country’s shores for greener pastures.

“We have one cardiologist for every 10,000 people in this country,” he said of the current situation in the country.

He added: “That number is not enough. It’s dangerous. Also at this, many people leave the country. We are all aware of the migration of healthcare workers in this country, which means that if nothing is done, it will be worse in the near future.

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He listed the causes of cardiovascular disease to include high blood pressure, heart muscle disease, rheumatic heart disease, and heart attack.

Others are excessive alcohol consumption and leaky heart valves, living in slums, leading to overcrowding and throat infections that can trigger heart disease.

Symptoms of heart disease, he said, are high blood pressure, weakness, swollen leg, difficulty in breathing and unusual heart rhythm, among others.

He said 33% of the Nigerian adult population suffers from high blood pressure.

“That’s just the average. In some parts of Nigeria, it’s even 40 percent.

“We know that generally, from World Health Organization data, in Africa it is 46%, which is the highest of any region in the world. It is a problem that leads most people to fall and suffer a stroke.

“This is the common reason people seek kidney replacement surgery. That’s why people get heart failure,” he said.

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He said many people with high blood pressure would not know it, adding that a third of people with the condition were not receiving treatment.

He also argued that a third of those on treatment were not under control.

He said obesity, rising cases of high blood pressure, diabetes and abnormal cholesterol levels have surged over the past few years, making cardiovascular diseases more of a concern in Nigeria.

“From the evidence we have, seeing that heart disease is becoming rampant in our country, and it’s killing a lot of people. It’s killing our people at the time of their lives when they’re supposed to be productive. The reasons are one, we are getting fat, it is obesity, high blood pressure is more and more common, we have more diabetes in society.

Ogah has also linked heart disease to poverty.

He said poverty can prevent people from paying for treatment or even accessing care.

He called for universal health coverage to be funded and designed to enable people to have better access to health care.

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The NCS conference, which begins Wednesday, September 21 in the nation’s capital, will focus on: Cardiovascular Disease: From Prevention to Surgical Care, Progress, Gaps and Prospects.


Sallie R. Loera