Two visiting Indians doctors from Fortis Hospital, Prem Kumar and Priyank Bhatt, a urologist and cardiologist, respectively, have observed that the lack of dietary observation and exercise among Liberians can contribute to serious health risks. Drs. Kumar and Bhatt, who came to Liberia on an invitation from Varsay E. Sirleaf, Jr., CEO of Snapper Hill Clinic, noted that after examining more than 250 patients, they saw signs of critical stages of heart disease and urinary tract infections.
“Most patients who we diagnosed have both combinations of hypertension and diabetes that put the patients at risk by developing weak heart, which is lacking power and on the possible brink of failure, as well as serious urinary tract infections like possible kidney failure and vesicoureteric reflux,” the doctors said.
The doctors added that to curtail the risks of heart disease and urinary tract infections, Liberians have to start seriously observing their diet by trying to reduce salt and oil quantity in food, stop smoking and consuming alcohol, and practicing safe hygiene.
“The evidence is overwhelming that poor diet, cigarette smoking and second-hand exposure to smoke increases the risks of heart disease, lung disease, the kidney and the peripheral vascular disease and stroke. High-salt diets increase blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and some urinary tract infection.
“Diet is an important risk factor in reducing heart disease and urinary tract infection. Food-related risk contributes hugely to heart and urinary disease. A low-saturated fat, high-fiber, high plant food diet can substantially reduce the risk of developing heart and urinary disease. It’s also important to cut bladder irritants from your diets, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners. These foods can make it harder for your body to heal and shake off an infection,” they said.
According to the Snapper Hill Clinic’s own doctors, Liberian diets are primarily plant based. “Think potato greens, cassava leaf, etc. – so achieving a high-fiber, high plant food diet is possible,” they said. “However, heavy salt use and use of unprocessed oil, compromises the benefits of our local diet. The diets can be modified by substituting salt with culinary herbs such as onions, garlic, basil, parsley, ginger, pepper (in moderation) etc. and using processed oil (olive oil, vegetable oil, etc.). Most pork products are already salted for preservation so there’s no need to add additional salt when putting in dishes. Finally, reducing white rice intake and increasing bulgur wheat, brown rice and sweet potato intake also helps.”
Meanwhile, Sirleaf explained that the two doctors are part of the first batch of professional doctors they are expected to come in the country to provide a first-class medical diagnosis for Liberians.
On October 30, the Snapper Hill Clinic held a Medical Specialist Camp with the two doctors along with an oncologist, Dr. Aditi Bhatt, in partnership with Fortis Healthcare and Pathway International. Fortis is one of the largest chain of super specialty hospitals in Southeast Asia and is internationally recognized by the Joint Commission International (USA) and the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (India). Pathway International offers medical travel (tourism) across several African countries including Liberia.