Fighting Hypertension: Astrazeneca’s Healthy Heart Africa Programme Expands to Nigeria

Fighting Hypertension: Astrazeneca’s Healthy Heart Africa Programme Expands to Nigeria

  • A multi-study data analysis conducted in the year 2018 found that nearly one-third of Nigerians have hypertension
  • Other studies reveal that more than half of people with the disease in Nigeria are unaware they have it
  • AstraZeneca's Healthy Heart Africa programme has been launched in Nigeria to help tackle such cases

FCT, Abuja - AstraZeneca, the federal government through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and Population Services International (PSI) Nigeria on Thursday, August 4 announced the launch of the Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme. gathered that this marks the ninth country of programme implementation in Africa since 2014- following Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Rwanda.

Healthy Heart
Dignitaries at the launch of Healthy Heart Africa Programme in Nigeria. Photo credit: Jerrywright Ukwu
Source: Facebook

A systematic review and multi-study data analysis of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors conducted in 2018, found that nearly one-third (1/3) of Nigerians have hypertension.

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Other studies reveal that more than half of people with the disease in Nigeria are unaware they have it.

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With awareness of having the disease at such a low level, prevention and education are vital to tackle the increasing threat of the illness.

Nigeria's minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said:

“The ministry has a vision to reduce the burden of NCDs in Nigeria and to strengthen the health system for the delivery of equitable services through the Essential Package of Health Services.
“To achieve this, we acknowledge partnerships as one of our strategic focus areas.
“The HHA programme will contribute to attaining our objective of orienting the health system towards addressing prevention and control of NCDs at all levels of care and by integrating them into our primary healthcare system.

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“It will also play a role in evaluating the prevalence of NCDs through data recording.”

Executed by PSI Nigeria, the programme will contribute to the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in the country with a focus on hypertension.

It will be implemented in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and 17 states across Nigeria, including Adamawa, Anambra, Akwa-Ibom, Bauchi, Delta, Enugu, Gombe Imo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, and Sokoto states.

Ashling Mulvaney, vice president, global sustainability and access to healthcare, at AstraZeneca said:

“In the face of a growing hypertension burden, I would like to commend the steps that the Federal ministry of health and the NPHCDA have taken to tackle the burden of the disease in Nigeria, such as establishing the National Multisectoral Action Plan for the prevention of NCDs.
“We are pleased to launch the Healthy Heart Africa programme in Nigeria in partnership with the federal government, NPHCDA and our implementing partner PSI.

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“The programme will contribute to strengthening the healthcare system by screening for hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, at the primary healthcare level.
“HHA will also contribute to a sustainable healthcare system by training healthcare providers on hypertension screening, treatment and management, supporting implementing facilities with screening equipment and promoting education and awareness activities in the community.”

Dr. Faisal Shuaib, executive director and chief executive officer of the NPHCDA said:

“We welcome the HHA programme’s expansion to Nigeria because it contributes to our ongoing efforts of expanding and enhancing primary healthcare and universal health coverage at a time, we are reimagining the Primary Healthcare (PHC) landscape.
“Our vision is to strengthen PHC)service delivery through an inclusive and integrated approach. We encourage people across all 17 implementing states and the FCT to take advantage of the programme by undergoing screening for high blood pressure for early detection and management.

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“It is important that the programme collects data on hypertension from its screening activities because this will possibly inform future decisions and policies on cardiovascular diseases like hypertension.
“We will ensure full integration of this programme with other ongoing government initiatives including Covid 19 vaccination, routine immunization, and optimized antenatal care (ANC).”

Dr Fatima Bunza, chief of party, PSI Nigeria said:

“We are committed to improving primary healthcare by providing tailored solutions to the communities where we operate.
“Through HHA, we look forward to implementing a collaborative approach to improve hypertension healthcare in Nigeria.
“By integrating the programme into the primary healthcare system, we are positioned to reach more people and detect high blood pressure before it becomes life-threatening.”

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