Stroke, otherwise known as cerebrovascular accident, has become the number one killer at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) for the past four years (2003-2006), claiming the lives of 1,014 people within the period.
The disease has thus overtaken malaria and HIV/AIDS, which used to be the major causes of death. Hospital authorities are concerned about the situation, especially since the disease is mainly the result of bad eating habits and other negative lifestyles which are preventable.
Statistics at the hospital indicate that stroke killed 366 people in 2003, 200 in 2004, 243 in 2005 and 225 last year.
In 2003, HIV/AIDS (211 deaths) was the second major killer at the hospital, just as it was in 2004, with 190 deaths.
In 2005 and 2006, low birth weight came second with 206 and 198 deaths respectively.
The Chief Executive of KATH, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, who first expressed concern about the increasing rate of stroke at a recent meeting between the management of the hospital and senior media personnel in Kumasi, disclosed in an interview yesterday that many young people were getting the disease because of their lifestyles.
The disease, he noted, was mainly the result of hypertension and other cardio-vascular diseases, many of which were preventable and manageable. He warned against the consumption of fatty foods, especially by the elderly.
“In Ghana, I can say people virtually drink oil, looking at the way cooking oil and other oily foods are used in homes and other eating places,” he said, and added that the practice was dangerous to the health of those who engaged in it.
Dr Nsiah-Asare also expressed concern about the way many grown ups ate eggs, especially fried ones, and said they must stop to avoid getting hypertension, which could eventually lead to stroke.
He stressed the need for regular exercises to keep people in good health. Dr Nsiah-Asare also urged the people to embrace the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to address the problem of health financing.
He noted that many people suffering from stroke and other diseases failed to get the necessary medical attention because they did not have the money to attend hospital.
He was not happy about the way some people had tried to politicise the scheme and said if Ghanaians did not do away with such negative acts, the nation would be the eventual loser, in spite of the beautiful things inherent in the scheme.
Dr Nsiah-Asare stated that KATH was operating the scheme and that it was dealing with all district health insurance schemes.
Story by Kwame Asare Boadu,