Accra, Ghana - The Ghanaian media this week highlighted the advice of medical doctors on avoiding heart attacks following the sudden death of popular broadcaster Komla Dumor. Dumor, 41, who was the Journalist of the Year in Ghana in 2003, worked at Accra-based Joy FM before joining the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about six years ago. He died on 18 Jan. in London, apparently from a heart attack.
Newspapers throughout the week carried photographs and tributes from various individuals and organisations highlighting his achievements.
“Pressure of work cutting short lives of young adults - Frimpong-Boateng,” was the headline of a story in the state-owned Graphic quoting Ghana’s famous heart surgeon, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, as advising the public, especially young adults, to “take control of their lives” to avoid preventable deaths.
The cardio surgeon noted that pressure of work, coupled with unhealthy eating habits, drinking, smoking, lack of exercise, among other negative practices, was cutting short the lives of many people.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said stress was a challenge for many people these days but managing it had always been a difficult.
He emphasised the fact that journalists, especially those working with the international media, were under constant stress from their work “because we expect a lot from them'.
But it was not only journalists who were under stress, as the situation cut across all spheres of life, he said.
While calling on Ghanaians to eat “our own food” because it was healthy, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng also stressed the need for improved environmental practices to improve human lives.
The state-owned Ghanaian Times, in a story under the headline “Leave pile-up is dangerous – Cardiologist warns” cautioned workers who failed to take their annual leave, resulting in a pile-up, that they stood the risk of cardiac arrest if the system broke down.
“Feeling indispensable at the workplace and therefore piling up your leave, can make the electrical system break down and nothing can be done about it,” Dr Abdul Samuel Tanko of the National Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, said.
He pointed out that cardiac arrest or sudden death could occur when the electrical system of the body was filled with chaotic activities such as stress, alcohol, smoking and cholesterol, among others, that prevented the heart from normal beating and supply of blood to the brain and other organs of the body.
Dr Tanko said heart attack was the blockage of vessels that supplied blood to the heart and cardiac arrest was when the heart suddenly or unexpectedly stopped beating in which the vital organs were deprived of blood for their functioning.
He advised the public to eat healthy foods, reduce salt and sugar intake, adding that people who had history of sudden death in their families should do health checks, avoid junk food and do frequent exercise to keep the heart in healthy condition.
“Ghana mourns Komla Dumor,” was the front-page headline of the Ghanaian Times, which said Ghanaians and thousands of people from across the world were thrown into a state of shock on Saturday, when the country lost one of its finest broadcast journalists.
“President eulogises Komla Dumor,” was another headline of the Ghanaian Times, which reported that President John Mahama expressed sadness saying Ghana, Africa and the world had lost a great, dedicated and wonderful human being.
President Mahama described the deceased as “a friend, a brother and a patriot, who cared very deeply about Ghana and Africa and also about global leadership that serves people and improve their lives”.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his tribute described the death as “tragic”, saying the broadcaster was an “inspirational journalist, always determined to find facts and report on the truth”.
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) described it as “a great loss” while Ghana’s former President John Agyekum Kufuor said it was “so shocking”.
The state-owned Graphic had a front page headline that also read “Ghana mourns Komla Dumor.”
“Komla Dumor projected Ghana’s image through journalism,” was another headline while the pro-opposition Daily Guide had the headlines 'What a shock' and 'Tears flow for Komla Dumor.'
The Graphic said relatives, friends and well-wishers of Dumor had continued to visit his father's residence in Accra to mourn with the family.
“GJA: Give Komla Dumor state funeral,” was a headline in the Ghanaian Times with the story saying the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Monday called for a state funeral for the late broadcaster.
According to the GJA, Dumor's contributions in building the image of Ghana to the outside world was superb hence the need to honour him.
Mr Roland Affail Monney, President of the GJA who described the late Dumor as a 'national hero from all angles' in a tribute, said apart from him doing his work as a journalist well, “internationally, he projected what more than one single ambassador could do'.