Gov’t Urged to Establish More Cath Labs

A section of the audience at the lecture

A Consultant Physician and Cardiologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Dr. Alfred Doku, has called for the establishment of additional catheterization laboratories (cath labs) in the country to ensure the effective diagnosis and management of cardiovascular diseases, especially heart attack.

According to Dr. Doku, the three cath labs – an examination room in a hospital or clinic with diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualize the arteries of the heart and the chambers of the heart and treat any stenosis or abnormality found – are inadequate for the effective diagnosis and treatment of heart attack.

“We want government to at least establish a cath lab in each region so we also have ‘one region, one cath lab’,” he stressed.

He was speaking at the 4th Biennial Public Lecture on the theme: “Heart Attack: An Emerging Disease We Cannot Ignore”.

It was organized by the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana in Accra.

Making a presentation on the clinical management of heart attack in the country, Dr. Doku raised issues with the poor position of the Ghanaian society and health system to care for people with heart attack which is the leading cause of death worldwide.

He said there was low public knowledge of cardiac arrest and resuscitation, no defibrillators at public places, and electrocardiography machines at the lower and middle health facilities level, adding “our emergency response team is also not easily available.”

Dr. Doku, therefore, stressed the need for intensified public education on the symptoms and signs of a heart attack.

Dr. Yacoba Atiase, Lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS), speaking on the risk factors of heart attack, said 50 per cent of heart attack deaths occurred in the first one hour of the attack.

She said high cholesterol contributes to plague formation which increases the risk of heart attacks.

Avoid trans fat like biscuits, cookies doughnuts and limit unhealthy fats and saturated fats in beef lamb. Rather, eat mono-saturated fats like olive oils, avocado nuts and fish,” she said.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri