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Hypertension fast becoming Kenya’s biggest public health concern

The World Health Organisation estimates that three in 10 persons are living with hypertension worldwide/CFM NEWS

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 – Hypertension, which is the most common cardiovascular diseases, is fast becoming Kenya’s biggest public health concern, accounting for over 50 per cent of hospital inpatient admissions and 40 per cent of hospital deaths.

Almost one quarter of all deaths from heart-related condition occur in Kenyans below the age of 40?years.

The Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Health Rashid Aman says cardiovascular diseases are reigning second after infectious diseases as contributors to global and indeed Kenya’s mortality burden.

The World Health Organisation estimates that three in 10 persons are living with hypertension worldwide.

“In Kenya, the National Stepwise survey for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), 2015 reported that one in four Kenyans is living with hypertension and more than half of the population have never had their blood pressure measured.”

The same survey alarmingly noted that over 90pc of those undergoing treatment for hypertension have not attained control of the disease.

Over five million Kenyans currently consume some form of tobacco products, nine million consume alcohol and one million consume alcohol on a daily basis.

Three million Kenyans do not engage in the recommended amount of physical activity with the entire population said to be consuming an unhealthy diet.

Aman was speaking at the fourth anniversary of the Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme, where the Ministry of Health, AstraZeneca and the United Nations Partnerships for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) held a high-level discussion on the need for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to integrate NCD prevention and control more effectively in primary health care in Kenya was convened.

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Council of Governors Health Committee Chairperson and Isiolo Governor Mohammed Kuti seconded the need for PPPs in addressing hypertension, a common NCD.

“The impact of NCDs on the Kenyan economy could be devastating and pose a serious setback to the attainment of social, health and economic targets – as highlighted by the Kenyan Government’s Big 4 Agenda and our Vision 2030 – if no serious interventions are implemented.”

Kuti also welcomed the partnership between four counties with AstraZeneca, a global science led bio-pharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines.

The counties are Isiolo, Kisumu, Nyeri and Makueni.

“We welcome AstraZeneca’s commitment to supporting us to halt and reverse the rising trend of NCDs in Kenya. The MoUs we have signed will expand our framework of intervention and enable us to bring healthcare closer to those who need it the most.”

The partnership will support the counties roll out awareness of NCDs, capacity building of the health care providers (especially in places lacking highly specialised trained health personnel), access to guidelines and treatment.

“This is the value of Public-Private Partnerships, particularly when dealing with a complex NCD challenge that requires prevention and control interventions at the community level. The outcomes of the Healthy Heart Programme to date are a strong indicator that we are on track to achieving our target of reaching 10 million people with high blood pressure in Africa by 2025.”

Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot said, “Our HHA programme shows us that by joining forces with the Ministry of Health and our other partners, we can get results that go beyond what any individual stakeholder can achieve.”

Soriot further highlighted that the new partnerships will provide a platform for shared commitment in supporting the counties with components ranging from public health education, screening, up skilling healthcare workers and strengthening the supply chain to ensure consistent availability of high-quality treatments.

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