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FOUNDATION FOR LAY EDUCATION ON HEART DISEASES
A Profile
By: Adolfo B. Bellosillo, MD, FACC, FSGC, FPCC, FPCP, FPCCP
Founding President, FLEHD

 
     
 
INTRODUCTION

At no time in the history of medicine and coronary artery disease has prevention been recognized and highlighted as in the early seventies when the World Health Organization issued the following statement: “Coronary artrery disease has reached enormous proportion, striking more and more at younger subjects. It will result in the greatest epidemic mankind has faced unless we are able to reverse it by concentrated research into its cause and prevention.
That epidemic, indeed, has come! Globally, 50 million die each year, 40% of which are coronary and 50% when one includes hypertension and stroke.

In the Philippines, since the early nineties, heart disease has become the number cause of death among Filipinos.

Despite the medical and surgical advances, 60% of deaths occur suddenly. Among the survivors, 30% die while in the hospital and the recurrence rate of heart attack remains high.

Why prevention?

The cost of medical care is staggering and astronomical making good medical care beyond the reach of the general population. In the U.S. and Canada, the decline in death rate is attributed to change in life style which involves control of hypertension, maintaining cholesterol and sugar at normal level, smoking avoidance and cessation, physical activities, and stress management.

Life style change calls for active involvement of the person in preventive program. And active participation gets maximized only if he is educated on matters pertaining to the heart.

Who is to educate him?

Us, physicians, of course.

But do we?

Picture an office of a busy physician or cardiologist. In the midst of silence, while a patient anxiously waits with bated breath for that sum total of the doctor’s professional fee and other charges, suddenly you hear the receptionist yell “next”.

While the word “next” may just what most would welcome to hear, it does not allow the patient to get to know the diagnosis of his case, the nature of his ailment, the factors that contribute to the development of the disease, the situations that trigger an attack, the treatment options and possible side effects, etc. The word does not give the physician some moments to explain in simple language the above and for the patient to ask questions.

These apparent lapses in communication between patient and physician are not all that strange nor unheard of, only for a different reason or situation. In the not so distant past, a patient surviving a heart attack, was kept in the dark as to what he was suffering from. It was feared then that the information could trigger another cardiac event, complications, if not sudden death.

But the age of cardiovascular mysticism has long been gone.

Today, the patient is told of everything there is to know in regard to his disease because success in the management of a cardiovascular case involves understanding and participation of the patient in his overall medical care. This, in turn, requires dialogue and communication between patient and his physician.

Regretfully, in this age of patient population explosion, in the present era of fast moving and high technology developments, often times the patients are told just to take the prescribed medications and to come back after a time for follow up.

The education of the public on matters pertaining to the heart has long been advocated by the World Heart Federation which must be extended to all regardless of nationality, creed, color or economic situation in life.

While institutions, agencies, organizations (both governmental and private) as well as civic organizations may very well have education of the public as one of their sworn functions, they are often defaulting for logistical reason, time constraint, inadequate number of personnel trained in the art of communications, priorities, etc.

Interestingly, while Filipinos can proudly claim that we are just about at par with our counterparts in the western countries in terms of knowledge and advances in the medical and surgical management of cardiovascular diseases, the same cannot be said of the practice of preventive cardiology.

Many an hour is spent, and for so often, on conferences, conventions, seminars, symposia and scientific meetings on what is new in the management of hypertension and coronary artery disease, sadly, none so far has been devoted to prevention of cardiovascular problems.

Attempts are made to educate the public. But these have been too few and far between with no serious gesture to reach out to all sector of society.

The past decade saw the proliferation of cardiovascular subspecialty societies but never has there been one with education as its primary goal.

Time can’t wait and something had to be done!


THE BIRTH OF THE FOUNDATION


It was then in the dead of winter, while walking desolately the entertainment streets of New York City that the thought of organizing a foundation solely addressing the matter of education of the Filipino community in regard to heart diseases dawned on me.

Thus, during the closing ceremony of the 5th National Annual Convention of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Society on the 6th of February, 1999, the idea was announced.

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission stamped its seal of approval giving the Foundation a legal personality on September 2, 1999.

And in the midst of the 7th World Congress of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention held at the Philippine International Convention Center, the Foundation was formally launched on February 22, 2000 graced by luminaries and world authorities on preventive cardiology.

THE PERSONALITIES BEHIND THE FOUNDATION

The governing body of the Foundation is a Board composed of formidable trustees headed by Mr. Jose S. Concepcion as chairman, Mrs. Imelda O. Cojuangco, Mrs. Nellie U. Bengzon, Dr. Alberto G. Romulo, Mr. Johnny T. Litton, Mrs. Marixi Rufino Prieto, Mrs. Zenaida Tantoco, Dr. Adolfo B. Bellosillo and Dr. Norbert Lingling Uy, as members.

The executive committee is headed by Founding President Dr. Adolfo B. Bellosillo supported by Dr. Vincent Valencia as secretary, Dr. Eleanor Lopez as treasurer, Dr. Adoracion Nambayan Abad as assistant treasurer, and Dr. Alberto Atilano, Ms Chichi Laperal, Dr. Efren Vicaldo and Dr. Ken Villanueva and Mr. Mars Lambino.

Recognizing the facilitating and coordinating rules that certain governmental agencies may play in the conduct of the activities of the Foundation, partnership with the Department of Health, the Department of Education and the Department of Interior and Local Government was sought resulting in the signing of a memorandum of agreement on July 30, 2001 with Dr. Manuel Dayrit (Health), Hon. Raul Roco (Education) and Hon. Jose Lina (DILG).


THE FOUNDATION FACULTY

Recruiting volunteers gifted with thorough knowledge of heart diseases and effective communication skills resulted in a faculty of:

1. Adoracion Nambayan Abad, MD
2. Joel Abanilla, MD
3. Angelita Aguirre, MD
4. Alberto Atilano, MD
5. Adolfo Bellosillo, MD
6. Leandro Bongosia, MD
7. Virgith Buena, RND
8. Jaime Cayetano, MD
9. Freman Cerezo, MD
10. Achilles Esguerra, MD
11. Pearl Esguera, RND
12. Ruby Frane, RND
13. Marie Simonette Ganzon, MD
14. Saturnino Javier, MD
15. Eleanor Lopez, MD
16. Mariano Lopez, MD
17. Ophelia Manlapit, MD
18. Donato Maranon, MD
19. Ruben Ortega, MD
20. Perfecto Palafox, MD
21. Imelda Peralta, RND
22. Cesar Recto II, MD
23. Noel Rosas, MD
24. Diana Jean Roxas, MD
25. Jose Sanchez, MD
26. Elson Sedilla, MD
27. Vivian Serrano, MD
28. Edwin Tucay, MD
29. Milagros Uy, MD
30. Norberto Lingling Uy, MD
31. Zenaida Uy, MD
32. Vincent Valencia, MD
33. Efren Vicaldo, MD
34. Ken Villanueva, MD
35. Eloisa Villaraza, RND
36. Edwin Wenceslao, MD


ACTIVITIES OF THE FOUNDATION



TOTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS CONDUCTED – 392

I. Public Forum – 232
This is for the general public, which usually lasts for one whole day or half a day, for 4 hours, in the morning or in the afternoon.
The topics discussed are:

    a. “Know Your Heart And How It Works”
    b. “How Do I Know I Am Having A Heart Attack?”
    c. “The Risk Factors for Atherosclerosis”
    d. “Cholesterol: The Good and The Bad”
    e. “Hypertension: The Silent Killer”
    f. “Smoke Gets In Your Heart”
    g. “Exercise To Your Heart’s Content”
    h. “Sex And The Heart: Fact And Fiction”

2. Barangay Health Workers Workshop - 46
The Barangay Health Workers are in the forefront in disseminating health information. In a survey conducted by the Foundation in regard to the basic knowledge of the BH workers on matters per- taining to the heart, the result showed higher average scores obtained by the general public. Because of this, FLEHD started to conduct workshops on Preventive Cardiology to get them oriented and their knowledge updated. Interestingly , the health workers displayed great capacity to learn when given access to the right information as shown in the remarkably high average scores after the lectures on cardiovascular diseases.

This is usually conducted for no less than one whole day and no more than two days.

The curriculum consists of the above 8 topics in the Public Forum plus the following topics:
    a. “Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease”
    b. “Life Cannot Be Sweet If You Are A Diabetic”
    c. “The Longer The Waistline, The Shorter The Life Span”

Senior Citizens Seminar on Preventive Cardiology - 8
The Filipino population is getting older. Beyond age 65 about the most common health problems encountered are hypertension and coronary artery disease.

The core curriculum for this group essentially consists of the those In the Public Forum, plus Diabetes and Obesity and:

    a. “Medications Used For Hypertension and Coronary Artery Disease”
    b. “Alternative Forms of Management for Patients Significant Coronary Obstruction”
    c. “Helping The Male Cardiac Patient Make It Through the Night
      (Erectile Dysfunction)”
4. Annual National Convention on Preventive Cardiology - 11
(for physicians) The developments in the field of Cardiology have grown on a fast pace. To keep the physicians abreast with newer knowledge, latest technology, new approaches to cardiovascular problems, controversies, etc. FLEHD conducts every last week of January a national annual convention.

5. Annual Regional Assembly on Preventive Cardiology - 9
(also for physicians) Realizing that many physicians find it difficult to come to Manila for the national conventions, FLEHD conducts assemblies in the different regions of the country.

The topics taken up are usually the same as those in the annual conventions.


6. Annual Oratorical Contest - 5
on the theme: “Preventive Cardiology: Its Time Has Come And Act We Must Now” This is usually conducted among medical students in the different medical schools in Metro Manila to create awareness among them of the importance of Preventive Cardiology as a big factor in slashing cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.

Health Care Professionals In Government Service – 10
The curriculum is designed for the provincial, city and municipal health officers with corresponding nurses, midwives and nutritionists and dietitians.

8. Public School Teachers Seminars – 9

9. Seminars for Physicians – 8

10. “How To Remain Young At Heart: The Musical” - 43

11. Seminar on Prevenitve Cardiology for Nurses - 13


NOTE:
In all the above activities, the participants and the attendees are NOT charged registration fees at all.

A Primer on Coronary Artery Disease translated into 7 dialects.

FLEHD Chapters

To effectively reach out to the Filipino population in the provinces outside of Metro Manila, chapters have been created, which to date are 22 in number:

 

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· THE FOUNDATION FACULTY

· ACTIVITIES OF THE FOUNDATION

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