Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, a cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Imperial College, London, on Monday expressed the need for African countries to prioritize bio-medical research that aimed at solving non-communicable diseases since such diseases had devastating effects especially on developing countries economy.
Bio-medical research is a study done to help or enhance knowledge in the medical field.
He said a study conducted in one African country showed that about half a million children die of rheumatic heart diseases every year and said there was the need to pay attention to such diseases.
Non-communicable diseases include stroke, hypertension, diabetes, cancers and other heart-related health problems.
Prof. Yacoub who is also a Fellow of the Royal Society, an international science research institution, said this at the opening of a workshop by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences done with the support of the British Academy and the Royal Society.
The two-day workshop on the topic: “Africa's Neglected Epidemic: Multidisciplinary research and intervention for chronic diseases in Africa,” brought together healthcare providers, researchers and policy makers from Africa, United Kingdom and Europe.
The workshop is a follow-up to a project done by Dr Ama de-Graft Aikins from the University of Cambridge and Dr Daniel Arhinful from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research to develop a collaborative research on the subject.
Prof. Yacoub said: “Chronic non-communicable diseases accounts for 60 percent of deaths around the world and 80 percent of such deaths occur in low income earning countries.”
He also noted that there was a link between infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS to non-communicable diseases and urged non governmental organizations to join efforts with governmental bodies to help solve problems with non-communicable diseases.
He also advised that all stakeholders especially the public were involved in finding solutions to those health problems.
Prof. Francis Nkrumah, Vice President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science, called for more public education on the diseases to help control the cases and deal with the problems that came with them.