By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
The Federal Ministry Of Health says it has concluded plans to conduct the National Steps Survey for non-communicable diseases, including hypertension, so as to improve on hypertension prevalence data gap.
The Minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this at a press briefing commemorating the 2023 World hypertension day celebration in Abuja, noted that ùpon completion of the survey, Nigeria will have nationally representative data of the prevalence of hypertension and associated risk factors for proper planning and designing of interventions to curb the development of hypertension in the country.
Hypertension, dubbed the silent killer 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).
It is commemorated every year by the global community on the 17th of May to draw attention on the need to combat the low level of awareness of hypertension
Often, people with hypertension do not have any specific signs or symptoms directly attributed to the condition but consequences end in damage of specific organs in the body including the heart, brain, eyes and kidneys resulting from poor control.
Briefing journalists on this year’s celebration with the theme, “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”, the Health Minister, Dr. Osagie said government has included additional 360 Primary Health Centres across 17 States plus the FCT to provide hypertension prevention, treatment and care services under the Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) Programme that was launched in August 2022.
The Minister, represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr. Alex Okoh, said that already there are 104 PHCs in Kano and Ogun States, and counted Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ákwá-Ibom, Delta, Rivers and the FCT among the new seventeen states supported by the HHA Programme.
He reitterated that hypertension is preventable and can easily be detected and treated, adding that its control is paramount in reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases in the country.
In a goodwill message, the World Health Organisation’s Technical Officer Non Communicable Diseases, Dr. Mary Dewan, said WHO has prioritized decentralized management and care for NCDs including hypertension, using the WHO Package of Essential Noncommunicable disease interventions for primary healthcare.
She noted that in the African region, close to 40% of adults aged between 30-79 years are hypertensive and only a quarter of them are taking medicines, saying that optimal blood pressure control is only attained in 11% of patients on medication.
Some others who spoke at the briefing including the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, represented by the National Coordinator, NonCommunicable Diseases, Deborah Odoh, Director, Primay Healthcare, Dr. Chijioke Obagha affirmed that Hypertension is easy to diagnose and that all hands must be on deck for effective prevention and control of hypertension in the country.
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