Haufiku concerned about heart disease among youth

14 Sep 2018 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 14 SEP (NAMPA) – Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) could be Namibia’s leading cause of death if lifestyle precautions are not taken by the youth, Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku has said.
NCDs are medical conditions or diseases not caused by infectious agents and include heart diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease.
Haufiku said this during his keynote address at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST)’s annual HIV/AIDS and Wellness Campaign Programme on Thursday.
The minister said if Namibians are not careful, they will be caught unprepared as CVDs and complications such as strokes and heart attacks are known causes of death among young Namibians.
Haufiku said the ministry has one resilient problem related to CVDs, rheumatic heart disease (RHD), which is caused by a complication of rheumatic fever that damages the heart valves.
“If you go to the heart unit at Windhoek Central Hospital, people of your age (youth) who come for heart operations are those with damaged valves because of this bacterial infection picked up, not even being aware that they had the infection,” he said.
Haufiku said about 550 people below the age of 20 are diagnosed with RHD.
The health ministry has been in partnership with NUST for many years in helping create awareness with the HIV/AIDS and Wellness Campaign Programme.
The minister explained that nearly 40 million people in the world live with HIV/AIDS, with 70 per cent of these people residing in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This disease has been with Namibia for nearly 40 years and even though the nation knows a lot about it, we still fail to manage to control it, because we don’t do all the simple things that are required,” Haufiku said.
He appealed to the nation to do more, even though significant efforts have already been made, referencing the more than 20 million people worldwide who are on antiretroviral treatment, adding that the pandemic is already showing signs of decline.
Haufiku also encouraged the use of the various options out there for prevention, such as condoms which are available countrywide.