Ahram Online talked with Dr. Mohamed Sobhy, head of the Cardiovascular Research, Education, and Prevention Foundation (CVREP) which is affiliated with the Ministry of Health and Population, at a press conference marking the initiative.
“For years the general consensus about fatal diseases in Egypt revolved around Hepatitis C, and sometimes cancer, although throughout all these years the number one challenge facing health in the country was cardiovascular diseases; now is time to raise awareness,” Sobhy said.
“Nearly 46 percent of deaths in Egypt are caused by cardiovascular diseases and almost 37 percent of Egyptians suffer from dyslipidemia (imbalance of lipids such as cholesterol). It is also extremely concerning that only 40 percent of cholesterol patients comply with their treatment regimens during the first year,” he added, considering these as alarming figures.
Sobhy stressed that CVREP is committed to educating medical calibers and raising awareness about heart diseases; many platforms are being mobilized, one of which is the “Reach 55” awareness campaign launched in June 2023 to encourage all atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) patients to get their cholesterol level checked regularly.
CVREP launched the “Unblocked Movement” initiative in collaboration with the private sector’s Novartis Egypt and Alfa Labs.
The conference highlighted the initiated awareness activities, including a mobile bus to reach various districts and governorates, along with awareness seminars for companies, sports and social clubs, and factories in Cairo and the Delta region.
The initiative stressed that the 46 percent of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases in Egypt could be reduced if patients themselves managed to control the disease-causing factors even before resorting to the prescribed medicine, Sobhy said.
Patients can control cholesterol levels by maintaining a healthy diet, doing exercise, stopping unhealthy habits like smoking, and having regular checkups for lipids and cholesterol levels.
Sobhy hailed the cooperation of the private sector’s stakeholders, especially for introducing new criteria in laboratories that not only measure cholesterol levels but also analyze them in light of the patient’s general health condition, provide proper recommendations, and encourage disease management follow-ups.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the world’s leading cause of death, with an estimated number of deaths of 17.9 million people in 2016, representing 31 percent of global deaths.
The conference also highlighted the pivotal role of media in raising public awareness about these diseases.