By Kevin Ongeti and Cherly Kerama, Heart Friends Around the World Universiti of Nairobi

Members of the heart friends around the world, held a research training workshop at the University of Nairobi. The aim of the research was to equip the members of the association with knowledge about research, research methodology and brainstorm on the chances and challenges of targeted research efforts in cardiovascular research in Africa. In the workshop, it was clear that while there are still many challenges of in cardiovascular research and prevention programs, there is nidus for growth in Africa. The heart friends around the world, University of Nairobi should start its dynamic preventive programmes immediately.

There were 100 participants in the two day workshop at the department of Human Anatomy, University Of Nairobi. The key speakers at the workshop included;

  1. Dr. Julius Ogeng’o – Chairman Department of Human Anatomy – Introduction to the cardiovascular system and the cardiovascular system research.
  2. Dr. Mark Joshi – Patron HFATW University of Nairobi – Data collection on the cardiovascular system
  3. Prof. E. Ogola – vice chairman PASCAR – Preventive cardiology in Africa
  4. Prof. SWO Ogendo – Chairman Kenya Cardiac Society – Writing a research project.
  5. Dr. Hassan Saidi – Critical appraisal of scientific papers.
  6. Dr. Christine Jowi – interventional cardiology.

In the workshop, the different speakers acknowledged the role of medical students in prevention of heart diseases. The medical students, members of the HFATW were trained on the essence of research, the need to research in all aspects of medicine and the role of research in the cardiovascular system. The speakers urged students to try on all methods of research including;

  • a) Analytical.
  • b) Experimental.
  • c) Descriptive.

They were equipped with all parameters of the above listed research methods. The members of the heart friends around the world were urged to go through the whole steps of research to ensure there is validity of the results acquired. These steps include;

  1. Development of the study question.
  2. Development of the concept paper
  3. Literature review/ search.
  4. Proposal development.
  5. Data collection
  6. And finally dissemination.

They were trained on sampling and randomization and elimination of error in different study methods. The members were equipped with the details of report writing as well as critical appraisal of scientific papers. Finally, he members of the HFATW University of Nairobi were reminded that the burden of cardiovascular disease in Africa is about high accounting for about 9.2% of the deaths. Dr. Christine Jowi taught the medical Students the current investigations and management including echocardiography and cardiac catheterization.
The current challenges one faces in cardiovascular disease management and research includes,

  1. Low awareness about the heart and heart diseases,
  2. Low interest among the population about the heart and heart diseases
  3. Different health priorities.
  4. In accurate record keeping.
  5. Inadequate financing of the health system.
  6. Sub-optimal laboratory support.

To mitigate these challenges, members of the HFATW were asked to start activities immediately. Members of the HFATW were encouraged to locally attempt;

  1. Epidemiological surveys.
  2. Measure baseline cardiovascular parameters including the blood pressure.
  3. Qualification of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the local population.

Research is dynamic. A lot of new information should always be sought in order to update the current information. Considering the cardiovascular system, medical students as energetic individuals stand a good chance of success. The ground for epidemiological survey and preventive activities in Africa is wide. The way to go is to start.