Sun | Dec 3, 2023

More heart-care investment needed outside Corporate Area

Published:Friday | December 27, 2019 | 12:09 AM
Dr Handel Emery, consultant cardiologist.
Dr Handel Emery, consultant cardiologist.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Handel Emery is lamenting what he describes as the inequitable distribution of resources across the island to address the needs of persons at risk and those who are suffering from heart disease.

Emery said that although we have the technology required to detect heart disease, most of these services are concentrated within the Corporate Area.

“Yes, we do have the technology, for the most part. These days, cardiovascular disease relies on things like ECGs [electrocardiograms], echocardiograms, which is an ultrasound of the heart; nuclear scans, which allow us to see the blood flow pattern to various segments of the heart muscle; and then angiograms, which allow us to see the coronary arteries ... , Emery said.

But the heavy concentration of medical practices in Kingston undermines ease of access to resources, the consultant said.

The medical doctor said that given Jamaica’s population there is a need for more cardiologists, labs and facilities that can provide special care for persons suffering from heart disease.

He was speaking to The Gleaner on Friday during the formal opening of the Winchester Heart Centre in St Andrew.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said that steps are being taken to address the issue.

“The approach has to be how you incentivise and motivate for greater spread, and that involves not just improving facilities, but amenities … . We are doing some of that through the reforming of primary healthcare as a part of our 10-year strategic plan, and we will give greater access across the board and, hopefully, encourage more spread,” he said.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for at least 40 per cent of deaths in Jamaica annually.