Mission Destiny Cardiothoracic Hospital Foundation (MDCHF)
“Saving One Heart Beat at a Time”
One out of every ten children born in Ghana has a hole in the heart also known at congenital heart defects. 7,000 children under five are also diagnosed with heart related ailments annually in Ghana.
Records also show that a significant number of children in
rural areas die from heart diseases due to lack of the right
medical attention and poverty.
Provision of good quality health care remains a major
concern in Ghana and Sub Saharan Africa. The provision of
health infrastructure and personnel continued to be a
challenge with the continent reported as having 24% of the
World’s Burden of Disease, but only about 3% of the
World’s Health Workforce.
In Ghana, the situation is not any different. Presently classified as a middle-income country, Ghana has experienced shortage of physicians at the national level and in most of its rural communities. The need for more doctors in Ghana is critical given the current ratio of 13 physicians per 100,000 people, which is considered unacceptable. The ratio is even worse in rural communities where in some instances ratios are reported to be about 1 doctor to over 50,000 people.
The Doctor/Patient ratios in the sub-specialties such as cardiology and cardiac surgery are worse. Heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year, with 80 per cent of these occurring in low- and middle-income countries, making it t he number one killer.
It is estimated that each year 7,200 children in Ghana are born with heart disease and about 40% of them will require some form of heart surgery. Compared to children suffering from communicable diseases, this number may appear small, but treatment of heart disease calls for catastrophic spending on the part of the families involved.
Again, in Ghana, as in other African countries, rheumatic heart disease, which is triggered by bacterial infection of the throat or skin, is the leading heart problem among children, adolescents, and young adults. It causes young people to develop heart failure from destroyed heart valves and many require heart surgery, which is often very expensive. Some patients eventually die from the disease because of lack of treatment.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Congenital Heart Defects was the Top 5 cause of premature death in children in 2016. It went from number 7 in 2005 to number 6 in 2016, A 3.1% increase.
In Ghana 70% of open-heart surgery performed in adults and adolescents are to repair or replace damaged heart valves. Improvement in living standards such as avoidance of overcrowding in homes and improvement in community and personal hygiene can minimize rheumatic heart disease. Unfortunately, these changes take time to adjust and until these standards are achieved, there will be more families with heart disease who lack the proper treatment.
As shown in the table below Heart disease rose by 21% from 2005 to 2016 is now the third cause of death in Ghana.