Screening key in fighting heart disease, Kenyan government


Nairobi,KENYA:The government through the Ministry of Health has called out on Kenyans to get tested for increased blood pressure, as a way of fighting cardiovascular diseases.

Health Principal Secretary Julius Korir in a statement observed that cardiovascular diseases rank second after infectious diseases as the top contributor to Kenya’s mortality burden.

“Hypertension is the most common cardiovascular disease with estimates from the World Health Organization WHO indicating that 3 in 10 people are living with the condition,” he continued.

Findings of the National Stepwise Survey 2015 indicate that out of 4 Kenyans, one is living with hypertension.

The survey further indicates that more than half of Kenyans have never had their blood pressure measured whereby 90 per cent of those undergoing medication have not achieved control of the disease.

During the ministry’s roll out of the Pima Pressure Campaigns Dr. Loice Nyanjau cautioned that testing was not limited to the elderly but to anyone who had a heartbeat.

Pima Pressure Campaigns is an initiative that intends to screen at least 200,000 people nationwide and provide cardiovascular health awareness.

Meanwhile Clinical Cardiologist Prof. Elijah Ogola warned Kenyans against living sedentary lifestyles, high salt intake and the consumption of tobacco and alcohol as a means of warding off heart disease.

“It is the awareness gap that is an impediment against controlling high blood pressure,” he said during the launch in Nairobi.

Healthy Heart Africa HHA present at the event has shown importance of reaching hard to reach populations in order to control hypertension noting that mainly women were accessible during testing.

“Healthcare facilities predominantly reach women and only 35 per cent of men are reached. Through innovative, community based screening we have raised the percentage of men screened for hypertension,” the organization concluded.

This happens as the world prepares to commemorate World Hypertension day on May 17.