Hypertension Day: Pate Calls For More Awareness To Prevent Deaths

By Alice Etuka, Abuja

Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Pate has called for the creation of more awareness about hypertension, adding that high burden of the disease in Nigeria was accentuated by the high proportion of persons that were unaware of their condition, putting them at risk of avoidable medical complications and death.

Pate made the call at a press briefing on Thursday, May 16, 2024 ahead of this year’s World Hypertension Day in Abuja.

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World Hypertension Day is commemorated on the 17th of May every year with the aim to raise awareness and promote the prevention, early detection and treatment of the disease.

The Minister who was represented by the acting Director of Public Health, Mr Akpan Michael stated that, “public awareness creation, education, screening routinely and at any given opportunity, early detection and diagnosis, counselling, and prompt provision of standard treatment and care to achieve long-term control are essentials 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”.

He said hypertension was the leading cardiovascular disease and Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs) and is responsible for significant morbidity and mortality, with the low-and-middle-income countries responsible for nearly 80% of the global cardiovascular disease burden.

He added that, “globally, more than one billion people worldwide are living with hypertension and this represents more than 30% of the adult population. Of the number of people living with hypertension, only 52% are aware of their condition while 35% are on treatment and less than 14% have their blood pressure controlled”.

Furthermore, he said it was worrisome that the burden of hypertension was disproportionately more in the low- and middle-income countries in recent decades due to increase in risk factors such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and harmful alcohol consumption.

On the prevalence of the disease in Nigeria and efforts of the government in combatting it, the Minister said, “according to the 2019 WHO NCD Country Profiles, NCDs accounted for 29% of all deaths in the country with cardiovascular disease, predominantly hypertension, responsible for 11% of all the NCD deaths, and premature mortality due to NCDs is 22%.

“The premature mortality due to NCDs is defined as the probability of dying between ages 30 and 70 years from the main NCDs.

“Over the years, the Nigerian Government has instituted several strategic interventions at the Tertiary, Secondary and Primary Health Care level with the targets of screening at least 80% of eligible population and placing 80% of people with hypertension on standard treatment and care, as well as ensuring that 80% of those on treatment have their blood pressure sustainably controlled so as to avert complication and contribute to achieving at least 25% relative reduction in unconditional probability of dying prematurely from cardiovascular diseases and other NCDs”.

Similarly, President of the Nigeria Hypertension Society, Prof. Simeon Isezuo represented by Dr. Mamven Manmak lauded the government for its interventions so far and pleaded with them to look into the rising cost of medicine for treatment of hypertension adding that it was a major concern and potential threat to the gains made.

The theme of the 2024 World Hypertension Day is, “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”.

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