RAWALPINDI: President Mamnoon Hussain on Saturday said cardiovascular diseases were the leading cause of death in the country and stressed promoting public about the health risks related to heart ailments.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of international conference on cardiovascular diseases here, the President said enhanced budgetary allocations for health and education could help provide better medical facilities to the patients across the country.
The conference titled `Challenges in Cardiology 2015′ (CIC), organized by Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology and National Institute of Health Diseases, gathered civilian and military cardiologists, international cardiac surgeons, anaesthesiologists and allied healthcare professionals.
President Mamnoon said with 200,000 deaths per year in Pakistan related to coronary heart diseases, the situation called for urgent intervention by key stakeholders for devising preventive strategies and providing quality care to the heart patients.
He said sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and tobacco were the major contributors of cardiovascular diseases and added that the use of tobacco needed to be arrested through both persuasive and punitive measures.
He mentioned that recently the government had taken an important step in enhancing the size of pictorial health warning to an unprecedented 85 percent of the cigarette pack and had also made it mandatory for all cigarette manufacturers to carry it on their products.
He said the step, which had been appreciated by the World Health Organization, would contribute immensely to efforts for dissuading youth from harmful habit of smoking.
He emphasized the need to protect the future generation against heart diseases and strokes by encouraging and enabling heart-healthy living from early life.
The President said most of the deaths caused by cardiac and non-communicable diseases were largely preventable and called for enabling health systems to respond more effectively and equitably to the health-care needs of people.
He said the government had endorsed political declaration on non-communicable diseases in the United Nations General Assembly and also the WHO Global Action plan for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.
He said necessary work in this regard had already been initiated in the country at all levels to manage the increasing mortality through primary healthcare approach by creating awareness, screening, early detection, timely referral and management.
He commended the AFIC and NIHD for providing state-of-the-art healthcare to the patients across the country and urged them to also take responsibility to train doctors, paramedical and technical staff of other centers.
The President called for investment in medical research and for its utilization in improving patients’ well-being.
He assured his support to any such initiative and announced a grant of Rs 5 million for the AFIC.
He expressed confidence that the conference would help sharing of experiences in cardiovascular medicine and also contribute to improving the policies, planning process and service delivery in the realm of cardiac care.
Surgeon General Let General Azhar Rasheed, also the patron-in-chief of CIC 2015, said the objective of the conference was to encourage global cooperation in cardiovascular medicine and to share regional experience and learn from international expertise.
Commandant and Executive Director AFIC and NIHD Major General Shahab Naqvi said the conference would provide an opportunity for building linkages between healthcare system, biomedical industry, business community and policy makers to effectively prevent and control the ever-increasing burden of cardiovascular ailments in the country.