Dr Ali Shafeeq, the first local cardiologist working in Maldives, has been nominated as a Heart Hero, for World Heart Day celebrated on September 29.
The Senior Consultant in Cardiology and Head of Department at the National Cardiac Centre in state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH), Dr Shafeeq was nominated as a Heart Hero by Tiny Hearts of Maldives, a local nongovernmental organisation that works to fight against congenital heart disease in Maldives.
Dr Shafeeq said he was delighted to join the ranks of other Heart Hero nominees, who are celebrated by the World Heart Federation for their "commitment, courage, empathy and care in relation to heart health”.
Dr Shafeeq became the first local cardiologist in the country in 2010, following his studies abroad and cardiology training in India. Swiftly becoming a renowned name among the local community, Dr Shafeeq is hailed not only for his daily duties but achievements such as the launching of a foetal heart screening programme in collaboration with Tiny Hearts.
He also led the initiative to commence cardiac catheterisation in Maldives, opening a state-of-the-art catheterisation laboratory in 2016 which he described as one of the most successful programmes in the Maldivian healthcare sector.
Moreover, Dr Shafeeq serves on the Maldives Medical Council and IGMH’s Executive Committee, positions he described that allowed him to bring concerns regarding heart diseases in Maldives to state officials.
"I bring to the attention of government officials the huge cost of taking care of acute heart conditions, emphasising that prevention is a better approach”.
World Heart Federation, an NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland, founded World Heart Day in 2000, as an international campaign to raise global awareness on cardiovascular diseases as the world’s leading cause of death. The Heart Heroes celebrated by the Federation include professionals involved in cardiology research and heart healthcare, as well as everyday people commended for their actions in taking care of heart patients.