World Heart Day: Call to action against cardiovascular disease in Seychelles
Heart disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. (Marco Verch, Flickr) Photo License: CC BY-SA 2.0
(Seychelles News Agency) - As the world prepares to observe World Heart Day on September 29, it is an opportune moment to reflect on the prevailing challenges posed by heart disease in Seychelles.
Heart disease, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, casts a significant shadow over the lives of individuals and communities, demanding our collective attention and action.
Heart disease in Seychelles
Heart disease remains a pressing concern in the island nation as recent data shared by the Ministry of Health indicates that cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) continue to be the leading cause of death in the country. It is a trend that persisted even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, heart diseases claimed the most lives, followed by cancers, respiratory diseases, and, notably, COVID-19, which made its entry as a significant cause of death.
Examining cardiovascular diseases more closely shows that while there appeared to be a reduction in the percentage of deaths attributed to CVDs in 2021 and 2022, the absolute number of CVD-related deaths increased consistently from 2020 through 2022.
Interestingly, a gender difference emerges, with more men succumbing to CVDs at younger ages compared to women. In 2022, 27 deaths linked to myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) were reported, with a higher prevalence among men across all age groups.
Similarly, 46 deaths in 2022 were associated with cerebrovascular accidents (strokes), showing a significant increase compared to the preceding years. The gender distribution for strokes also leans toward men, especially in the 55-64 age group.
Fighting against heart diseases in Seychelles
Local initiatives are spearheading the fight against heart disease with dedicated individuals and organisations working tirelessly to raise awareness, educate the public, and promote heart-healthy lifestyles. Their collective efforts serve as a beacon of hope, illuminating a path toward a healthier future.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health launched a critical training programme on February 13, which aims to equip doctors, nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers with essential skills in basic and advanced life support. The training sessions will continue in the year 2024 as well.
The primary goal of this initiative is to ensure that all healthcare professionals both in the public service and private clinics, possess the competency required to facilitate the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) – the restart of the heart rhythm after cardiac arrest.
This, in turn, can significantly increase the chances of survival and reduce the risk of physical or neurological damage in patients after cardiac arrest.
The Ministry of Health's commitment to enhancing the capabilities of healthcare providers represents a significant stride toward a heart-healthier Seychelles.
Through such local initiatives, Seychelles is forging a path toward a future where fewer hearts are burdened by disease, and more lives are safeguarded from the grip of heart-related ailments.