Increasing CVD Knowledge and Practice Among Health Workers
The Ashanti-ProCor Project to Increase CVD Knowledge and Practice Among Health Workers is a four-year project developed by ProCor in collaboration with Dr. Bernard Nkum, cardiology consultant at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and professor in the Department of Medicine at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana.
The goal of the Ashanti-ProCor Project is to increase access to, and application of, information about cardiovascular disease prevention in order to promote heart health.
Approximately 80% of cardiovascular disease can be prevented, according and low-cost preventive strategies can save the lives of millions of people for whom treatment would be unaffordable on either an individual or a national level (1).
However, lack of adequate resources in low- and middle-income countries also results in lack of access to relevant, timely information. Providing reliable health information for health workers in developing countries is potentially the single most cost effective and achievable strategy for sustainable improvement in health care (2).
Engaging in a participatory process with individuals and groups in the Ashanti Region who can play a role in CVD prevention, ProCor is identifying health worker groups who can play a key role in prevention; and working with them to develop innovative, effective, sustainable communication strategies that will promote heart health.
Globally, learnings from the project will be publicized, and tools and processes developed by the project will be freely disseminated for adaptation and adoption in diverse settings.
CVD in Ghana
Ghana, like most developing countries, is is experiencing rapid increases in hypertension, diabetes, obesity, tobacco use, and cardiovascular disease. In Ghana, heart disease and stroke are the top five and six causes of death and their incidence is increasing rapidly (3).
The economic growth occurring in Ghana and many other countries around the world brings with it an increase in CVD risk factors. Nationally, 29% of adult Ghanaians are hypertensive, 14% are obese, and 6% are diabetic (4). Seven percent of Ghanaian males smoke tobacco (5). Among Ghana's regions, the Ashanti Region has the highest number of CVD reported at outpatient departments (6).
Bernard Nkum, MD, Project Co-Director, is a cardiology consultant at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi and professor in the Department of Medicine at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Dr. Nkum trained in preventive cardiology at the Lown Cardiovascular Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA, as part of its Developing World Fellowship.
Mailing address: PO Box 1934, Kumasi, Ghana
Telephone: 011 233 20 9017647
Catherine Coleman, MA, is ProCor's Editor in Chief. Catherine has thirty years of experience developing and implementing health communication strategies, with a focus on at-risk populations and the innovative use of traditional and emerging communication media. She teaches courses in Technology and Health Communication at Tufts Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Mailing address: ProCor, Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation, 21 Longwood Avenue, Brookline, MA 02446 USA
Telephone: 001 617 732 1318 x3332
Fax: 001 617 734 5763
1. World Health Organization. Preventing chronic disease: A vital investment. Geneva: WHO, 2005. www.who.int/chp/chronic_disease_report.
2. Pakenham-Walsh N, Priestley C, Smith R. Meeting the information needs of health workers in developing countries. BMJ 1997; 314: 90,. www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/314/7074/90.
3. World Health Organization. Mortality Country Fact Sheet 2006--Ghana. www.who.int/whosis/mort/profiles/mort_afro_gha_ghana.pdf.
4. WHO Global Infobase. Ghana: Most rRecent national survey(s) for chronic, noncommunicable disease risk factors. www.who.int/ncd_surveillance/infobase/web/InfoBasePolicyMaker/reports....
5. United Nations Development Programme. Human Development Report 2006. New York: UNDP, 2006. http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2006.
6. Ghana Health Services. Ghana Health Services 2005 Annual Report. Accra: GHS, 2005. Page 25.
Date Posted: 1 August 2007