Sick at Heart

It is a grim situation that calls for intervention at levels, governmental as well as societal. The revelations made by an eminent cardiologist during the launching of life saving procedure, Angioplasty, in a private medical institute pose a genuine worry. That ten percent of total population, below and above 30 years in Kashmir was suffering from various heart ailments and number of deaths because of cardio vascular diseases was increasing, are alarming figures. The increase in CVD is a South Asian phenomenon; no proper study has been conducted about the incidence of heart diseases in Kashmir and even if done it has not been made public.
According to recent estimates the cases of CVD that were 2.9 crore in India in the year 2000 are likely to increase to 6.4 crore by 2015. By that estimate the incidence of heart diseases in India is less than five percent at present as against alarming ten percent in Kashmir Valley. The studies have revealed the deaths from CVD will be more than double within next few years and most of this increase will occur on account of coronary  heart  disease  — AMI,  angina,  CHF and inflammatory heart disease. Most important cause for increase in heart diseases in India is seen in improving life standards of the people and affluence.  And as against that major cause attributed to the increasing cardio vascular diseases in Kashmir is the political uncertainty and law and order situation in the state. Eminent cardiologist sees the high level of stress as one of the high risk factors for heart ailments in Kashmir. ‘The People of the Valley undoubtedly, because of the situation as has been prevailing in the state for decades, have been reeling under immense stress that has contributed to the rise in stress, diabetes and blood pressure levels which subsequently trigger heart ailments and attacks.’  The number of deaths in Kashmir because of CVD compared to national average is far higher. Seen in this perspective the increase in Kashmir should not only be cause of concern for national and international health organizations but also human rights organizations like the International Red Cross.  These organizations need to impress upon India and Pakistan to work towards ending the political uncertainty in the state. And at the same time the alarm bells raised by the leading cardiologist need to cause concern to the government and the civil society. More than thirty to forty thousand people in the valley need Angioplasty annually and disturbingly the state health department does not have the requisite infrastructure to meet the demand. Many a cardiac patient who could be saved have been dying for the lack facilities and resources.  Because of over-bureaucratization of administration, corruption and vested interests of medicos the health sector in the state has miserably failed in providing even basic medical facilities in the state.  In view of growing number of CVD patients in the state more particularly in Kashmir there is need for setting up heart centers and Cathlabs in all districts. True, expecting the state health department to rise to the occasion would be as good as whipping a dead horse but the Union Health Ministry headed  by a former state Chief Minister in view of menacing increase in CVD needs to initiate special programs for improving heart care facilities in the state. It needs to establish some fully equipped heart centers under centrally sponsored schemes at various district headquarters. While one calls upon the state and the central governments to improve heart care facilities in the state there is need for Kashmir civil society more particularly the non-resident Kashmiri doctors  to come forward in a significant way in setting up philanthropic medical institutions in the state.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 10 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST

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