Minister of Health Prof Isaac Adewole, has said that too many Nigerians are dying of unhealthy diet even as he cautioned that the economic loss from Non Communicable Diseases, NCDs, such as stroke, High Blood Pressure (hypertension), heart attack, and diabetes among others, could rise to a projected US$8 billion over the next 10 years in the country.
Adewole who said hypertension is the leading cardiovascular disease in Nigeria and can result in stroke if untreated, remarked that 1 in 5 Nigerians is hypertensive and at risk of premature death.
Presenting the keynote address in Lagos, during the First Annual Black Tie Gala event organised by the Tristate Heart Foundation (THF), to raise N500 million in support of cardiovascular care in Nigeria, he observed that unhealthy diets contribute significantly to the development of NCDs in Nigeria.
Sadly, there is widespread low consumption of proteins, fruits and vegetables and increasing patronage of fast food outlets by the population.
There is also large promotion of sweetened products such as carbonated drinks, pastries, candies and other refined sugars, while excessive intake of salt is promoted by food additives such as monosodium glutamate common in delicacies such as suya, kilisi, isi-ewu, ngwo-ngwo, among others.
Further, he remarked that current estimates, show that death rate from stroke is 40-50 per cent within the first three months of diagnoses, while 39 per cent of those who survived stroke after three months died within a year, with 12 per cent developing severe disability.“I can say without fear of contradiction that at least five out of 10 adults seated here tonight have elevated blood pressure and more than half of these are not aware of their situation.
“This is frightening because the dire consequence of neglected hypertension is stroke without warning. Unless we take drastic and sustained actions, we will keep counting losses,” he said.
He said THF’s sister organisation, the Tristate Cardiovascular Association (TCA), which operates the Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre, has done over 100 open heart surgeries and numerous cardiac interventions, with 60 per cent of the patients unable to pay their bills.
Als speaking, former Osun State Governor/ National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande, said the Foundation was set up to tackle the incidents of deaths from heart deceases, which he said account for premature death of about 17.3 million people every year.
He said the funds would help the world-class Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre, under the leadership of Prof Kamar Adeleke, to treat those of little means.
I, Bisi Akande, currently a 78-year-old man, have decided to do my part by dedicating myself completely to an initiative that will improve the health of Nigerian citizens and prevent us from needless death.”
The Foundation, he said, plans to sponsor a minimum of 150 open heart surgeries in the next one year.