The University of Abuja has joined other researchers from Washington University in Saint Louis, USA; and Northwestern University, Chicago, USA, to embark on academic research aimed at finding an effective treatment for hypertension.
Other collaborators in this study are the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria; Resolve to Save Lives; the World Health Organization, Nigeria; Federal Capital Territory Primary Healthcare Board; and the Public Health Department of Federal Capital Development Authority.
The research which commenced in 2019 and is expected to end in 2024, is ongoing in 60 primary healthcare centers in the six area councils of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with over 20,000 patients with hypertension enrolled in the study to contextualize and evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of a system for hypertension care and treatment centered on patient and non-physician healthcare workers.
Dike Ojji, an associate professor of Preventive Cardiology at the University of Abuja and Co-Principal Investigator Hypertension Treatment in Nigeria programme, University of Abuja, noted that a major stakeholders’ meeting was convoked to ensure all partners and researchers fully understood the study’s aims, approaches, findings, and implications.
According to him, the Research established a correlation between increased consumption of sodium with hypertension and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
He said the meeting would help the researchers “understand the study’s progress and share contextual factors that could influence its implementation and integration into the broader Nigerian health system; understand next steps in scaling up the study to the six geopolitical regions of the country, and Understand how the study can collaborate and harmonise with other similar studies in the country, especially the Nigeria Hypertension Control Initiative and Healthy Hearts Africa.
“After first rounds of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions already conducted among key stakeholders and data on retail survey already collected in over 14,000 packaged and unpackaged foods in retail stores, we believe the team is well positioned to initiate meetings with policymakers and key stakeholders on how such data can be translated into policies and eventually implemented.
“We are sure that this would help to improve public health consequences and significantly bring down the risk of cardiovascular disease along with its associated morbidity and mortality in the country.”
Co-Principal Investigator in the study, Mark Huffman, Washington University in St Louis, noted that communicating key developments in the study was essential to its overall success.
“Overall, the translation of research on hypertension into policy is critical for improving public health outcomes and reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease.
“By implementing evidence-based recommendations and policies, governments and public health organizations can help prevent and manage hypertension and its associated complications, ultimately saving lives and reducing healthcare costs.”