Mombasa,KENYA:Cardiologist Dr. Dan Gikonyo has urged the government to embark on strategies to reduce levies charged on medical equipment as a way of reducing cost of treating heart diseases.
Dr. Gikonyo, co-director Karen Hospital told Baraka FM on friday that the high taxes imposed on the equipment are making investors to shy away from importing those crucial commodities.
“If you buy an MRI machine or equipment for cardiac surgery the government levies a significant amount of tax on it, as high as 30 per cent. When private medical practitioners bring the equipment to the country they must somehow get the money back. Hence the fees charged to the patient for using the machines must be high,” Dr. Gikonyo explained.
The cardiologist defended the move saying that a successful practicecannot be ran unless the entity is able to cover its costs.
He told Baraka FM that treatment could be as high as one million shillings.Meanwhile Dr. Gikonyo has also called on the public to ensure a healthy lifestyle and opt for annual medical checkups to ensure they do not get heart disease.
“Prevention is way cheaper than treatment of heart related ailments. People should avoid smoking and also consume less sugar and salt,” he cautioned.
Most common heart disease among adults according to the cardiologist is coronary artery disease which is a blockage of the blood vessels.
“This manifests itself as a result of unhealthy lifestyles by not exercising and consuming fats excessively,” he noted.
Dr. Gikonyo advised parents not to take tonsillitis in children lightly as it could lead to the latter getting heart maladies.
“Rheumatic heart disease in children can be caused by tonsillitis. We prevent the heart disease by controlling sore throats. Sore throats are preventable by treating early with penicillin. Parents must feed their children well to boost their immunity,” he advised.
This comes at a time when Karen Hospital is planning a run to raise funds for children with heart ailments from less privileged families.
Speaking to Baraka FM at The Karen Hospital, Chairman of the hospital’s Board, Dr. James Mageria outlined that their intention was to provide world-class care to children suffering from heart ailments.
“I used to cough and sometimes and I could not walk long distances. A private hospital misdiagnosed me with TB and the medications were very strong. I did not heal. Later I was found to have had an unhealthy heart and I underwent a surgery for free at Karen Hospital. Now I am healed,” an elated David Macharia beneficiary of the charity run, told Baraka FM.