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Cardiology conference for public, professionals, kicks off Thursday

page6d120BELAIR--The public and various medical professionals are invited to attend the upcoming cardiology conference for essential information on preventing, recognising and treating heart conditions. “How often do you get the opportunity to hear from and ask questions to a panel of medical professionals?” said co-organiser Rotary St. Maarten President Jeffrey “Dr. Soc” Sochrin.

“The Heartbeat in St. Maarten – Where are we now” conference is slated for Belair Community Centre, Thursday through Saturday, October 8-10. Thursday’s session is free and open to the public, and comprises a one-hour lecture starting from 6:30pm and a question-and-answer session.

Specialists include a cardiologist, a physiotherapist and a dietician. Health Minister Rafael Boasman and a NAGICO Insurances official also will be on the panel.

Sessions on Friday and Saturday are open to all medical and paramedical professionals, pharmacists, and medical and paramedical staff of governmental and insurance company medical departments. General practitioners and specialists will be charged US $75, while other professionals will be charged $25. Preregistration can be done through

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The conference is a collaboration between Rotary St. Maarten and Windward Islands Medical Association (WIMA). WIMA organised the first such conference in 2011, called “A New Heartbeat in St. Maarten – Where do we stand and where to go to in cardiology.”

“This successful conference, an example of good cooperation between family doctors and the group of cardiologists from Holland, was the important steppingstone towards the [installation – Ed.] of a true Cardiology Department in our hospital, the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).

“Over the last four years we saw the rotating cardiologists’ presence growing from 60 per cent to over 130 per cent, the purchase of a new Cardiac Ultrasound Machine and the implementation of the first Pacemakers. Nowadays the Cardiology Department can pride itself in also having a dedicated nurse for the Pacemaker Care and one for the Cardiac Ultrasound Scans,” said WIMA.

The upcoming conference is a follow-up to that of 2011 and will be a platform to reflect on progress made in the last four years and to discuss challenges and innovations.

At a press conference Tuesday evening, organisers urged the public to take the learning opportunity, also pointing out that heart disease affects postmenopausal women more than men; that almost a third of the island’s population is diabetic, a precursor; and that globally, one out of three people is expected to die from heart disease.

Attendees will learn about lifestyle changes; pressures; symptoms, which often can be vague, especially in women; and what to do in case of a heart attack.

Organisers say the all-too-frequent suffering of cardiovascular disease calls for more attention and education for the public at large and for medical professionals. Sochrin shared that the cause was close to his heart, as three of his grandparents had died of heart disease.

NAGICO Insurances is the main sponsor of the conference. NAGICO Group of Companies Chairman Imran McSood Amjad said that on hearing the request, he had found the sponsorship “easy to honour,” adding that awareness would benefit everyone and that if even one fewer air ambulance or overseas operation was realised, it would be worth it.

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