Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa, and in Zambia they account for eight percent of overall mortality rate.
This is according to the Zambia Heart and Stroke Foundation (ZAHESFO).
ZAHESFO Founder and Executive Secretary, Brenda Chitindi, said Zambia should urgently address cardiovascular diseases and air pollution as it was vital due to its significant impact on public health.
Chitindi in a statement issued in Lusaka on Friday said Air pollution was a severe global environmental threat, causing an estimated seven million premature deaths annually.
“While the number of cardiovascular disease-related studies in Zambia is increasing, qualitative investigations into how these diseases and their risk factors are understood within the socioeconomic and cultural contexts are limited,” she said.
Chitindi said in Zambia, the mining, manufacturing and transportation sectors, are a significant contributor to air pollution, emitting substances like Sulfur dioxide (SO2), Carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter.
She said to address this issue, Zambia’s health system must expand essential services for cardiovascular, circulatory conditions and emphasize primary care.
Chitindi said this should include early screening, allocate public funding, and ensure a sufficient healthcare workforce.
“Furthermore, pollutants not only endanger public health but also impact the planet’s climate and ecosystems.
Most air pollution reduction policies offer a “win-win” strategy, benefiting both health and climate,” she said.
Chitindi said lowering air pollution levels leads to improved long-and short-term cardiovascular and respiratory health outcomes.
“Lifestyle and affording beneficial daily choices are as well key factors in maintaining healthy hearts.
Proper nutrition, recreations and regular exercises, sleep and rest are vital, the same goes for staying off tobacco and avoiding harmful use of alcohol,” Chitindi said.
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