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Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, which include coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, strokes, peripheral artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, and other conditions.

Today, CVD represent a significant health burden in Nigeria, echoing a global trend but exacerbated by unique local challenges. As a developing nation with diverse socioeconomic dynamics, Nigeria faces numerous obstacles in combating the rising prevalence of CVD.

According to the Nigerian Cardiac Society, available data shows that over 20.5 million people die of heart-related diseases yearly, and over 75% of the deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

Recent estimates indicate that CVD accounts for about 10% of total deaths in Nigeria, with hypertension being the most common cardiovascular condition affecting approximately 30% of the adult population.

The incidence of other CVDs, such as heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease, has also been increasing, stressing the already strained healthcare infrastructure.

The impact of CVD in Nigeria is profound, affecting the economic stability and quality of life of its citizens. The high cost of treatment and the chronic nature of these diseases often lead to significant out-of-pocket expenditures for families, pushing them into financial hardship.

Furthermore, the loss of productivity due to CVD-related morbidity and mortality can hinder economic development. The treatment of CVD is protracted, expensive, and with limited access to health insurance, the cost burden typically falls on individuals and families.

This financial strain can lead to delayed or foregone care, worsening health outcomes. Nigeria’s healthcare system struggles with inadequate facilities and a shortage of specialized healthcare professionals equipped to manage chronic diseases like CVD.

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This gap limits the effective management and control of CVD cases, leading to higher rates of complications and fatalities. There is also a significant lack of awareness about the risk factors and early symptoms of CVD among the general population.

Factors such as cultural beliefs and practices also influence the perception and management of these diseases, often leading to late diagnosis.

It is in this context, that the work of Uzoamaka Okwor, Nigerian public health nurse and epidemiologist, becomes crucial. Her research has focused on community-based strategies to improve CVD awareness and interventions designed to enhance access to preventive care and treatment.

Uzoamaka is passionate to reduce the incidence and impact of cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria, especially in local uninformed communuities, implementing targeted health education programs and extensive advocacy for policy changes and implementation.

Her notable contributions include research on the effectiveness of community health workers in managing hypertension, and the role of diet and physical activity in preventing CVD.

Uzoamaka’s work not only shines a light on the pressing issue of CVD in Nigeria but also lays the groundwork for future advancements in how these chronic diseases are understood and managed in low-resource settings.

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There is no doubt, the relentless efforts of healthcare professionals like Uzoamaka Okwor are essential in mitigating the impact of CVD in Nigeria.

She has always sued for continued research, improved healthcare policies, and enhanced community engagement as critical tools to addressing the challenges posed by cardiovascular diseases, and for improvement of the health and well-being of Nigerians.

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