Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Silent killer: 30% adult population in Uganda hypertensive but do not know

Kampala, 16 April 2013:World Health Organisation Uganda: Press Release
By Benjamin Sensansi

Uganda formally commemorated World Health Day 2013 with a national function held in Budaka district, Eastern Uganda. The commemoration under the theme “High Blood Pressure: A silent
killer” was presided over by the Minister of Health Dr Christine Ondoa.

In her speech Dr Ondoa revealed that in Uganda it is estimated that about 30% of the adult population have High Blood Pressure (HBP) and that 80% of these people do know that they have the problem. In addition, 80% of smokers who report to Mulago National Referral hospital have HBP and 50% to 60% of Out Patient Department patients (OPD) at the same hospital come because of HBP complications.

Dr Ondoa attributed the worrying HBP situation in the country mainly to four factors namely: inappropriate diet; physical inactivity; tobacco use and; harmful use of alcohol. She therefore advised Ugandans to adopt positive lifestyles that address those factors. She also advised Ugandans to regularly check their blood pressure and other conditions especially in the Regional Referral Hospitals that have been lately equipped to handle such investigations.

The Director General of Health Services Dr Jane Ruth Aceng underscored the importance of regular medical checkups and appealed to Uganda to have blood pressure checked at least once every year. She pointed out that HBP can be prevented by modifying lifestyles and even treated with medicines if detected early enough.

According to Dr Aceng, the Ministry of Health is contributing to the prevention, control and treatment of Non"communicable Diseases through strengthening of the health system, training of health workers, surveillance and monitoring. The Ministry is also providing palliative care in collaboration with partners
and the private sector.

Dr Solomon Fisseha the Officer in Charge at the WHO Country Office reported that hypertension is a silent killer that can affect anyone noting that one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure. The condition causes about 50% of all deaths from stroke and heart disease.

Most of the people affected by high blood pressure are often not even aware of the disease and its complications. Dr Fisseha pointed out that the rapid increase in non" communicable diseases has serious implications for socio"economic development in developing countries. This is because the
early death or disability due to HBP results into loss of income, diminished workforce, and increased health care spending for families, communities and the country.

He therefore appealed to government and all stakeholders to recognize access to essential
medicines for HBP and other NCDs as a fundamental human right that must be availed to all people who need them.

He urged everyone to eat healthy foods, reduce salt intake, avoid tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, control their body weight, and above all, regularly check your blood pressure. He appealed to the ministry of health as well as health professionals to give utmost importance to early detection and treatment of high blood pressure and prevention of its complications, and to implement standardized guidelines for hypertension management in primary health care settings.   

For more information please contact Benjamin Sensasi, Health Promotion Advisor, WHO Country Office Tel 
256-41-335500 Email: 

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