New Telegraph

WHO Harps On Routine Blood Pressure Screening To Curb Hypertension

Vinkmag ad

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for the early detection of hypertension in affected persons through routine screening at all health service delivery levels. Also, the world body has recommended that calibrated and validated blood pressure measuring devices should be available in all health facilities as a strategy to promote regular control of blood pressure. In a message from the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti to mark the 2023 World Hypertension Day, commemorated annually on May 17, Moeti said quality assured medicines should be available for the management of hypertension particularly at the primary level, as well as a robust mechanism to collect data to monitor outcomes from treatment and care.

This year, the theme of the World Hypertension Day ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer,’ is aimed at drawing attention to combatting the low level of awareness of hypertension as well as the limited availability of calibrated devices for accurate blood pressure measurement. In Nigeria, almost one in three adults (33.3 percent) has hypertension, while only one third of this figure (about 23 million) is on treatment. According to the WHO, in the African region, close to 40 per cent of adults aged 30 to 79 years are hypertensive.

Although only a quarter of these 40 per cent adults are taking medicines to control their blood pressure, optimal blood pressure control is only attained in 11 per cent of patients on medication. She said, “We can fight hypertension and the responsibility starts with us as individuals and as communities taking control of our health and well-being. We need to adopt healthy lifestyles such as reducing salt intake, increasing portions of fruits and vegetables consumption, increasing physical activity, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.

Effective prevention and control of hypertension requires a multi- sectoral approach, said Moeti, add- ing, “This approach should involve collaboration between the health sector and other sectors, such as education finance, and agriculture, to address the social determinants of hypertension. For example, interventions such as promoting healthy diets and increasing physical activity can be implemented in schools. Moeti stated that governments in Africa can lead the way by implementing their commitments through policies and programmes that address the root causes of hypertension, promote healthy environments, and improve access to healthcare services.

“This will require a significant investment in healthcare infrastructure, training of healthcare workers, and increasing access to affordable medications.” According to Moeti, addressing hypertension in Africa requires a multi-faceted approach that involves individuals, communities, and governments working together. “We must work together to join the global effort to address hypertension and its related health consequences. For those living with hypertension, regularly measure your blood pressure accurately, control it, and live longer.

“By taking action today, we can prevent and control hypertension and improve the health and well- being of millions of people in Africa,” she added. Hypertension is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) mostly heart attack, stroke, and heart failure which account for a significant burden of premature mortality from non- communicable diseases (NCDs). Dubbed as the ‘silent killer’, oftentimes people with hypertension will not have any specific signs or symptoms directly attributed to the condition.

Symptoms are usually foreboding of damage to specific organs in the body including the heart, brain, eyes and kidneys resulting from poor control. Hypertension is easy to diagnose and there are safe and cost-effective treatments including pharmacologic and behaviour change interventions. WHO has prioritised decentralised management and care for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including management of hypertension, using the WHO Package of Essential NCDs interventions for primary healthcare.

In addition, the WHO has published a guidance on the technical specification for automated blood pressure monitoring devices to ensure improved access to accurate, affordable blood pressure devices which is often a significant barrier to proper medical care in low-resource settings. “We need to regularly check our blood pressure and in case it is raised, adhere to medications as prescribed by the health provider.”

Read Previous

Ariston To Sustain Quality Energy Efficient Products For Households

Read Next

WHO Launches Global Network To Detect, Prevent Infectious Diseases’ Threats

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular