The Dean of the University of Cape Coast Medical School, Prof. Harold Amoono-Kuofi, has stated that the increase in Cardiovascular (heart) diseases in the country constitute a challenge to the country and the development of the nation as a whole.
The disease, he explained, was gradually assuming a prime position as a cause of death in Africa though majority of the premature deaths and sufferings were preventable through lifestyle changes.
Prof. Amoono-Kuofi said this at the opening of the Fourth African Heart Seminar in Cape Coast.
The two-day programme on the theme "A synergy of diagnostics, medical and surgical therapies on Cardiothoracic Healthcare" sought to bring to bear the evolution and challenges, as well as improving the level of cardiovascular treatment.
It was attended by about 60 health practitioners from Ghana, South Africa and Germany.
Prof. Amoono-Kuofi further called for the strengthening of existing capacity through increased awarness, infrastructural development and the training of human capacity to address the problem of heart related diseases.
"It is important to emphasise the roles and responsibility of physicians and other healthcare professionals in preventing heart diseases and stroke, not only through health education, lifestyle modification and policy, but also through the care of individual patients, taking advantage of new knowledge and the facility of technological advances that have enhanced surgery and ensure a high degree of competence and success", he added.
He said that cardiovascular diseases were common and second only to pneumonia in adult of the country.
"Evidence suggest that the major causes of cardiovascular morbidity in Ghanaians are hypertention, rheumatic, heart disease and cardiomyopathy", he stressed.
The Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Aaron Offei for his part, noted that most heart diseases were acquired through the lifestyle of the patient.
He, therefore, called for the promotion of healthy lifestyle among all Ghanaians in order to reverse the current percentage of heart diseases recorded in the country.
"Disease that comes during the late part of life are now being prevented quite early", he added.