The Federal Government said it has instituted strategic interventions at the Tertiary, Secondary, and Primary Health Care levels to screen at least 80 per cent of the eligible population and place 80 per cent with hypertension on standard treatment and care.
The FG also said it is working towards ensuring that 80 per cent of those on treatment have their blood pressure controlled to avert complications and to reduce premature death as a result of cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases to 25 per cent.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who made this known in Abuja last week, during the commemoration of this year’s World Hypertension Day, with the theme: “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer,” said hypertension is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality in the country.
The global community commemorates World Hypertension Day every May 17
Usually, people with hypertension do 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.
Ehanire, who was represented by the Director of Public Health at the Ministry, Dr. Morenike Alex-Okoh, said, “Hypertension is the leading cardiovascular disease and NCDs, and it is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality, with the low-and-middle-income countries responsible for nearly 80 per cent of the global cardiovascular disease burden.
“It is worrisome that the burden of hypertension is disproportionately more in the low- and middle-income countries in recent decades due to the increase in the prevalence of risk factors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and harmful alcohol consumption. The significant burden is further accentuated by the high proportion of persons that are unaware of their condition, putting them at risk of avoidable medical complications and death.
“It is important to note that public awareness creation, education, routine screening at every opportunity, early detection and diagnosis, counselling, and prompt provision of standard treatment and care are essentials elements for hypertension prevention and control, otherwise hypertension can lead to fatal complications such as heart disease, heart failure, stroke, blindness, chronic kidney failure, dementia, etc.
“Hypertension is preventable and can easily be detected and treated – its control is paramount in reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease in the country. For those on treatment, please avoid the temptation of stopping your medication and follow-up clinic visits without advice from your doctor or the health care worker attending to you.”
In her message, the World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, said, close to 40 per cent of adults aged 30-79 years are in the African region, and only a quarter of these are taking medicines.
“Optimal blood pressure control is only attained in 11 per cent of patients on medication. Hypertension is an important risk factor for CVDs, mostly heart attack, stroke, and heart failure which account for a significant burden of premature mortality from NCDs.
“Hypertension is easy to diagnose, and there are safe and cost-effective treatments, including pharmacologic and behaviour change interventions. WHO has prioritized decentralized management and care for NCDs including management of hypertension, using the WHO Package of Essential Noncommunicable disease 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,” she said.
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