Our Correspondent / New Delhi
“No woman should die of heart disease just because she cannot afford treatment, or it is ignored,” said doctors at a press conference on eve of International Women’s Day here today.
They said that in last two decades India have seen a steady rise in incidences of heart attack among women, especially those in the reproductive age. Estimates suggest that of the 10 million deaths annually in India, about two million are due to diseases of circulatory system, and women form 40% of those who die due to cardiovascular issues.
They said that as per law those with an income of INR 21,000 or less are covered under ESI but those above 21,000 are not mandated. “This needs to be made mandatory for those above this benchmark as well, including women of the family”.
On the occasion the Sameer Malik Heart Care Foundation Fund, an initiative of the Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) organized an event by unveiling the stories of over 500 women whose lives were saved due to the work being done under HCFI’s flagship project – the Sameer Malik Fund. Twenty of them were present on the occasion. The basic ideology of the fund is that no person should die of heart disease just because he or she cannot afford treatment.
Chief guests for the event included Kathak exponent, Padma Bhushan Uma Sharma ji and Mr P K Bajaj, Managing Director, Mayapuri group (LOTPOT). Other dignitaries present included Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), and Mr Deep Malik, Director of the Foundation.
Speaking at the press conference, Dr K K Aggarwal, said, “There is a need to create awareness on the fact that women are equally prone to heart diseases. Although most families can afford diagnosis and treatment for women, health problems in them are ignored until a much later stage.
Kali, a 66-year-old female from Nepal, approached the fund. She suffered an inferior wall heart attack and had severe blockages in two of the arteries supplying blood to the heart. Her family income was Rs 70,000 per year. As part of her treatment, a coronary artery bypass off pump surgery was done at the National Heart Institute. The grafts used were one arterial and one venous. This was followed by a pacemaker implant. She is now doing fine.
In another instance, Madhvi, 22-year-old girl from Mathura approached the fund. She was diagnosed with moderate PDA – an artificial tunnel connecting the lung artery with the brain artery. She also suffered from episodes of breathlessness and one episode of loss of consciousness during her childhood. A PDA closure was done at the GB Pant hospital using Amplatzer ductal occluder (ADO). With this intervention, a surgical scar on the chest was avoided.
Lauding the efforts, Ms Uma Sharma, said, “It is indeed wonderful to know about the work that the Sameer Malik Foundation is doing for the health of women. Not just this, the fact that they provide treatment free of cost comes a sigh of relief to many who cannot afford it. I congratulate them and wish them all the best in their endeavours.”
Another successful case is that of one-year-old Baby Poorvi who was diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease. The heart defects included dextro transposition of the great arteries, large hole in the atrial chambers, and high hemoglobin. An Atrial Switch Procedure (Senning) was done for Poorvi at Medanta, and she is doing fine now.
Mr P K Bajaj, added, “In women, even if they can afford treatment, the level of ignorance gets them delayed diagnosis and treatment. This is something that needs to be addressed at every household level.”
The event was also a time to remember the recent tragic demise of veteran actress Sridevi, who may have suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Whatever the reason be for her death, it is time to acknowledge, understand, and create awareness on women’s health and the conditions that affect them. Only a timely diagnosis and treatment can help prevent future complications in women
About the Sameer Malik Heart Care Foundation Fund
The Sameer Malik Heart Care Foundation Fund is a one-of-its-kind initiative by the Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) in memory of Sameer Malik to ensure that no person dies of a heart disease because they cannot afford treatment. Instituted in February 2014, the Fund provides technical and financial assistance to heart patients belonging to economically weaker sections of the society, in need of cardiac interventions. Since its inception, over 580 needy and poor patients have been treated and cured under the Sameer Malik Heart Care Foundation Fund. While any person can apply for the benefits of the project irrespective of their religion, caste, age, or gender; a special preference is given to girl children and young adults. All patients receive treatment at leading hospitals in Delhi and NCR.
Story is edited by Andalib Akhter