Professor Dr. Charles Yankah, a cardiovascular surgeon at Berlin Medical University in Germany, has said cardiovascular diseases would soon overtake HIV infection as a major killer in Africa if education for prevention were not well appreciated.
"Without concerted efforts and action to improve cardiovascular diseases prevention and to develop a sustainable medical-surgical programme in regional hospitals, cardiovascular disease will undermine the socio-economic development in our society", he said.
Professor Dr Yankah was speaking on "Acute Coronary Syndrome" at the Fourth African Heart Seminar in Kumasi on Tuesday.
The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) organised the seminar in collaboration with the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, African Cultural Institute of Berlin and Berlin Heart Institute.
He said a diagnosis of heart failure signalled imminent death and that 50 per cent of the victims diagnosed with it would be dead within five years or earlier.
Professor Dr. Yankah said the incidence of rheumatic and congenital heart diseases were also alarming stressing that they were higher among the rural than the urban population.
He said grown-ups with congenital heart disease for example were a paradigm of poor healthcare programme, medically and surgically in childhood.
"Those who survive childhood are at a constant risk of developing heart failure stress and die," he said.
He stressed the need for physicians to repeatedly and categorically point out the risk for developing heart diseases and stroke and that people should aim at avoiding fatty foods and making regular exercise as prognostic factors for good health to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.
The seminar, which was attended by doctors from KATH, highlighted the echocardiography and computer imaging diagnostics, most recent medical and surgical treatment for cardiovascular diseases and heart failure.