The Ghana Health Service, AstraZeneca and PATH Ghana, have marked one-year anniversary of the launch of the Healthy Heart Africa programme in Ghana.
The Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme has conducted over 275,800 blood pressure screenings in the communities; identified over 44,500 elevated blood pressure readings and diagnosed over 10,200 people with high blood pressure
Over the first year of implementation, the programme conducted over 275,800 blood pressure screenings in the community; identified over 44,500 elevated blood pressure readings and diagnosed over 10,200 people with high blood pressure, contributing to national testing efforts.
The partnership seeks to contribute to the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in Ghana with the emphasis on hypertension.
In 2014, the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey reported a 13.0 per cent prevalence of hypertension among persons aged 15 to 49 years.
Prevalence among male respondents was 12.1 per cent and 13.4 per cent among females.
Among those who were diagnosed with hypertension, 45.6 per cent were previously aware of their hypertension status, 40.5 per cent were receiving treatment for the condition and 23.8 per cent had their blood pressure controlled.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service stated that the Service had worked with the Healthy Heart Africa programme to increase awareness and demanded for hypertension services by maximizing opportunities for screening and linking patients to care.
On the occasion of the programme’s a year anniversary in the country, the Director-General expressed gratitude for the support the programme had offered in improving hypertension service delivery in the Ashanti Region and creating awareness of the dangers of elevated blood pressure, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the Service would continue to support and commit to working in partnership with the Healthy Heart Africa programme to improve health outcomes for persons living with hypertension in the region and across the country.
The programme is currently implemented in 35 health facilities within seven districts of the Ashanti Region and had trained more than 120 healthcare workers to provide education and awareness, screening and treatment.
In addition, it had provided blood pressure screening equipment and patient education materials to improve on the quality of care.
“The importance of access to healthcare and strengthening local health systems resilience through training and guidelines was spotlighted by the challenges that the global healthcare community was currently facing in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am pleased to mark one year of the implementation of the Healthy Heart Africa programme in Ghana, with the results demonstrating the work in partnership and commitment of local stakeholders to address the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
“We commend the Ghana Health Service for their unwavering partnership and support, as we work together to contribute to the achievement of our shared goals to expand prevention of NCDs, raise health awareness and improve hypertension care in the country,” said Ashling Mulvaney, Global Head of Access to Healthcare, Global Sustainability.
Even though high blood pressure is a rising problem for populations in Ghana, national understanding and awareness of its prevalence, treatment and control is limited.
Working with community health nurses and community health volunteers, the HHA programme has integrated education on lifestyle modification and blood pressure measurement at the community level.
This strategy has extended reach to a larger number of people in a more cost-effective way and significantly contributed to strengthening of community health systems.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the urgency of strengthening access to care for NCDs. PATH has been pleased to implement this timely project in Ghana over the past year to improve access to hypertension detection and management.
We appreciate AstraZeneca’s support that has allowed us to quickly contribute to the COVID-19 response in Ghana and protect people living with NCDs whilst strengthening access to care,” said Helen McGuire, Director Non- Communicable Diseases PATH.
Since launching in Kenya in 2014 and subsequently expanding to Ethiopia in 2016, Tanzania in 2018, Ghana in 2019 and Uganda in 2020, HHA has conducted over 15.09 million blood pressure screenings in communities and in healthcare facilities.
Over 7,290 healthcare workers, including; doctors, nurses, community health volunteers and pharmacists to provide education and awareness, screening and treatment.
The programme activated 800 healthcare facilities in Africa to provide hypertension services and identified over 2.72 million people with elevated blood pressure.