380 cardio patients in need of urgent cash await surgery at Korle-Bu (September 18, 2013 ) Front page

Three hundred and eighty  heart patients who are in need of financial assistance are currently on the waiting list of the National Cardiothoracic Centre (NCC) at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to undergo heart surgery.

Two hundred and fifty out of the number are children. On the average, heart surgery in Ghana costs between GHC 10,000 and GHC 12,000.

With the cost of heart surgery out of the reach of most Ghanaians, the Ghana Heart Foundation pays 50 per cent of the cost: with patients expected to bear what remained, but even that even remains a challenge for many patients.

According to Director of the the NCC, Dr Lawrence A. Sereboe, 20 out of the number had been on the list for more than three years in critical conditions, noting that "without surgery they are not going to last for two years.”

Dr Sereboe was speaking at the the launch of a concert initiated by silky-voice musician, Kwabena Kwabena, to raise funds for poor people with heart diseases.

Dubbed the 'Kwabena Kwabena Save a Heart Concert', the ace highlife musician is putting together a band of musicians, including Samini, Becca, Efya, Sarkodie, Joojo, OJ, Stella Dugan and Afriyie, for a show at the Banquet Hall of the State House on October 19, 2013, to champion the cause of heart patients in the country who are poor.

The Statistics

Cardiovascular diseases are the world’s most deadly killers, claiming 17.3 million lives per year. This staggering figure represents 30 per cent of all global deaths per year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In Ghana some 400 people undergo heart surgery annually. Out of even-100 live births in the country, one congenital hole-in-heart condition is recorded.

The most reported cases of heart conditions at the NCC include children with various forms of hole-in-heart conditions and adults with various forms of valve problems.

Case for Patients

Making a case for heart patients in the country who are poor, Dr Sereboe said, “It is very expensive to undergo heart surgery. The majority of Ghanaians cannot afford this.”

The NCC Director, who was full of praise for the musician, said, "It was as if it was heaven sent. We looked at our records and realised that there are a number of patients who have been diagnosed with one form or another of heart conditions that are amenable to surgical treatment.”

Touching on the change heart surgery would bring into the lives of patients, he said, “With successful heart surgery, the person's life changes and there is improved quality of life and improved life expectancy. These are people who, when left alone, may not live long. They are dead without surgery.

“Even if they are alive, the quality of life is so poor. We have a number of patients on the list who are waiting for somebody to come up and help them so they can afford surgery,” he added.

Dr Sereboe made a passionate appeal to Ghanaians to attend the concert in their numbers and also donate to the Ghana Heart Foundation.

Kwabena Kwabena

Kwabena Kwabena, who burst into the limelight with his ‘Asor’ album in 2005, said he was motivated to give back to society.

“When I take stock, I realise that for the past eight years Ghanaians have been supportive as far as my career is concerned. They have been to my concerts and everywhere I’ve been to people have purchased my CDs.

“I felt it so heavy in my heart that there is something I have to give back to my country and society. I am into music, which has a lot to do with the heart. I do love songs. You need a healthy heart to be able to soak these love songs and so I took it upon myself to ensure that every Ghanaian has a healthy heart.

“I’m so motivated because I have the opportunity to give something back to my society. It is all about saving a heart,” he said.

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