Dr Josephine Asare, a specialist at the Anton Medical Hospital has advised government to use a nurse-led intervention coupled with the provision of health insurance to help manage hypertension.
For her, these interventions would decrease the burden on the doctor to patient ratio at hospitals and as well as encourage more people to check their statuses frequently.
Dr Asare stated that, in a study conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa, by a team of researchers led by NYU School of Medicine in collaboration with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology found that task shifting (delegating tasks from physicians to nurses and other non-physician workers), when combined with access to health insurance, was an effective strategy in reducing systolic blood pressure among adults with newly-diagnosed uncomplicated hypertension.
Again she said a similar approach was effective for the management of HIV in low- and middle-income countries, and that there was a considerable evidence suggesting that task shifting of prescribing duties from doctors to trained nurses for initiation and maintenance of antiretroviral therapy was equally effective compared to a physician centered model.
“It is imperative for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to strongly consider this policy for management of hypertension if we are to stave off its growing burden in the region,” she added
The Specialist was speaking to the Ghanaian Times on the celebration of World Hypertension Day observed every May 17th to raise awareness and promote hypertension prevention, detection and control.
High blood pressure according to her was the main risk factor to develop cardiovascular disease.
She said about 1.3 billion people around the world suffered the disease which was a major cause of cardiovascular disease and premature death worldwide adding that the burden of hypertension was felt hard on people from low- and middle-income countries.
Dr Asare said what was heartening was that about half of people living with hypertension were unaware of their condition, putting them at risk of avoidable medical complications and death” she stated
“To achieve the global target to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25 per cent by 2025, WHO and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Hearts Initiative in 2016. With its five technical packages to give guidance on more effectively detecting and treating people with hypertension in primary health care” she stated.
Dr Asare said hypertension was a serious medical condition and could increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
Speaking on how the disease could be diagnosed and managed, the specialist, said it could easily be diagnosed by monitoring blood pressure, and treated with low-cost drugs.
She hinted on unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol consumption, uncontrolled diabetes, and being overweight as some of the causes of the disease, adding obesity was the head of the risk factors.
BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY