Healthy Heart Africa programme expands into Uganda to tackle the - National | NTV

Healthy Heart Africa programme expands into Uganda to tackle the burden of hypertension


Saturday May 16, 2020
Healthy Heart Africa programme expands into Uganda to tackle the burden of undiagnosed and uncontrolled hypertension


In Summary

AstraZeneca and the Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Republic of Uganda have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will pave the way for implementation of the Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme.
This Makes Uganda the fifth country of implementation after Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana.

 The partnership aims to strengthen the provision of services for managing and preventing hypertension, including raising awareness of lifestyle risk factors for CVD, using MoH guidelines to standardise care and upskilling health workers through training and education.

According to the national STEPwise survey conducted in Uganda in 2014, 24.3 percent of Ugandans had elevated blood pressure , while the pre-hypertension rate was at 37 percent .

The study also showed that over 70 percent of the respondents had never had their blood pressure measured and that 76.1 percent of those with raised blood pressure were untreated.i Only 7.7 percent of participants with hypertension were aware of their high blood pressure, suggesting a high burden of undiagnosed and uncontrolled hypertension in the region.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 30 percent of adults were estimated to have high blood pressure in 2014, the highest prevalence in any region.

Commenting on the milestone, Dr Diana Atwine Kanzira, Permanent Secretary, Uganda’s Ministry of Health, says, “At a time when we are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, we also have an opportunity to highlight our common determination to provide quality healthcare to all Ugandans. To achieve this, the Ministry of Health, under the leadership of His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni, shall continue to spearhead programmes that equip our healthcare system with the tools, resources, knowledge and trained personnel required to tackle both communicable and non-communicable diseases. We are therefore excited to unveil this partnership with AstraZeneca to implement the Healthy Heart Africa programme, which will contribute to our government’s objective of reversing the high prevalence of hypertension in our country.”

HHA partners with global and local partners with the aim of sustainably improving access to hypertension care by increasing education and awareness around lifestyle choice and CVD risk factors; training healthcare providers and driving care to lower levels of the healthcare system, such as primary healthcare facilities and clinics, as well as facilitating access to treatment where appropriate.

Since launching in Kenya in 2014 and subsequently expanding to Ethiopia in 2016, Tanzania in 2018, and Ghana in 2019, HHA has:

●    Conducted over 14.5 million blood pressure screenings in the community and in healthcare facilities
●    Trained over 7,200 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, community health volunteers and pharmacists to provide education and awareness, screening and treatment
●    Activated 780 healthcare facilities in Africa to provide hypertension services
●    Identified over 2.6 million people with elevated blood pressure.

“We are delighted to partner with the Ugandan Ministry of Health to support the government’s goal of tackling non-communicable diseases, which are a growing public health issue for the country,” says Ashling Mulvaney, Head of Access to Healthcare, Global Sustainability, AstraZeneca

He says that Through Healthy Heart Africa, they will be able to identify barriers that hinder access to hypertension care and work together to strengthen the healthcare system by addressing the prevention, awareness and diagnosis of hypertension, as well as the education and training of health workers.

“Our experience since the first HHA programme was implemented has given us insight and learnings that will help us to implement a successful programme in Uganda together.” she adds

Collins Hinamundi is a News Producer with NTV Uganda