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  • Life - Health & Wellness
  • Updated: May 18, 2023

WHO Urges African Countries To Tackle Causes Of Hypertension

WHO Urges African Countries To Tackle Causes Of Hypertension

The World Health Organisation has called on African countries to address the root causes of hypertension to promote healthy living.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa made the call in her message to commemorate World Hypertension Day 2023, with the theme, ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It and Live Longer.’

She noted that the policies, if implemented would promote healthy environments and improves access to healthcare services.

“This will require a significant investment in healthcare infrastructure, training of healthcare workers, and increasing access to affordable medications,” she added.

Moeti explained that World Hypertension Day is observed to draw attention to and combat the low level of awareness of hypertension and the limited availability of calibrated devices for accurate blood pressure measurement.

“The symptoms are usually foreboding of damage on specific organs in the body including the heart, brain, eyes and kidneys resulting from poor control,’’ she said.

According to her, in the African region, close to 40 per cent of adults aged between 30 to 79 years are hypertensive and only a quarter of these are taking medicines.

“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).

“Hypertension is easy to diagnose and there are safe and cost-effective treatments including pharmacologic and behavioural change interventions,’’ she said.

Moeti said the WHO has prioritised decentralised management and care for non-communicable diseases, including the management of hypertension, using its Package of Essential Noncommunicable disease interventions for primary healthcare.

“We need to regularly check our blood pressure and in case it is raised, adhere to medications as prescribed by the health provider.

“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 vegetable consumption, increasing physical activity, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption,” Moeti said.

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