30 November, 2020 (Lagos, Nigeria) – In Nigeria, heart disease is responsible for one in ten deaths. earlier this month, the Federal Ministry of Health’s Non-communicable Disease Division announced the Nigeria Hypertension Control Initiative (NHCI), a new program to control high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) and improve heart health. NHCI, which integrates hypertension care and treatment in primary health care facilities, launched in 12 facilities in Ogun and Kano states and will scale up to 600 in both states.
“The number of people with high blood pressure is growing in Nigeria and is a major risk factor for heart disease,” says Dr. Emmanuel Agogo, Nigeria Country Representative of Resolve to Save Lives “If left unchecked, high blood pressure endangers the physical health and well-being of our citizens. With this new program, we are providing critical diagnosis, care, and treatment needed to reduce high blood pressure and save lives.”
High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors of cardiovascular disease, which claims nearly 234,000 lives in Nigeria every year. In the last two decades the prevalence of high blood pressure in Nigeria has tripled; today, it is estimated that 38% of Nigerian adults are hypertensive, yet only one out of three of those with hypertension are receiving treatment. Because hypertension has no symptoms, many people with hypertension are not aware that they have it.
NHCI will use evidence-based strategies to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and control of high blood pressure, including comprehensive hypertension education, care, and treatment led by local health care workers. NHCI will also implement simple treatment protocols, which help to standardize treatment and allow nurses and health care workers to support blood pressure management. This is part of a long-term goal to implement models of team-based, patient-centered care.
Pictured: Unboxing of Blood Pressure Monitors and Devices at NHCI Launch in Kano State
This program is a joint initiative by the Federal Ministry of Health along with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Ogun and Kano state governments, the World Health Organization, and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies.
“If we want to significantly reduce heart disease, strokes, andheart attacks we must tackle major risk factors, starting with hypertension,” says Dr. Kufor Osi, Technical Officer, Cardiovascular Health of Resolve to Save Lives. “Addressing high blood pressure begins where most people get their care, which is at the primary health care level.”
Nigeria has prioritized addressing the causes of cardiovascular disease and other non-communicable diseases and has set targets of reducing both the prevalence of raised blood pressure and premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one quarter by 2025. The recently-launched NHCI will contribute significantly to these national targets as well as accelerate progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals and universal health coverage. This will be done through increasing and scaling up access to affordable, comprehensive high-quality hypertension prevention and treatment services at the primary health care and community levels thereby bringing these critical services to the doorsteps of everyday Nigerians.
Pictured: Blood Pressure Measurement training in Kano state
About Resolve to Save Lives
Resolve to Save Lives is an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies focused on preventing 100 million deaths from heart disease and making the world safer from epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL
About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible.
To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.