- as it commemorates World Heart Day
AstraZeneca, multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, has said it is committed to tackling cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) across the African continent through an initiative dubbed Healthy Heart Africa (HHA).
AstraZeneca has over the past nine years partnered with governments in nine different African countries and health agencies to implement the HHA programme targetted at addressing the issues of hypertension, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The programme has in less than a decade conducted over 38.5 million blood-pressure screenings, diagnosed over 3.1 million people and trained over 10,600 healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, community health volunteers and pharmacists to provide education and awareness.
Additionally, HHA has activated over 1,300 healthcare facilities to provide hypertension screening and treatment services as well as other CVD services.
Interim Country President-Africa Cluster, AstraZeneca, Deepak Arora expressed that alarming statistical data on the increasing burden of CVDs across Africa which informed the design of HHA to contribute in prevention and control of the menace has doubled – hence the decision to intensify and expand the programme to reach more people.
“Healthy Heart Africa is central to our commitment to sustainability and improving access to healthcare, as we put patients first today and in the future. Launched in 2014, our Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme is committed to tackling hypertension and the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease, with the ambition of reaching 10 million people with elevated blood pressure across Africa by 2025,” he said.
The president made these remarks at a virtual event to commemorate World Heart Day, 2023, under the theme ‘Use Heart, Know Heart’.
Senior Technical Advisor-Non-Communicable Diseases, Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH Ghana), Dr Robert Yeboah, mentioned that Ghana has been implementing the HHA programme over the past four years and the impact has been enormous.
He mentioned that the HHA programme empowered people living with hypertension, diabetes, CVDs and NCDs as well as persons with disabilities (PWDs), with vital information delivered relating to signs and symptoms, need for regular check-ups, personal health tit-bits and adherence to regular drug patterns among others through awareness and sensitisation programmes.
On the way forward, he emphasised that PATH will continue partnering with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to increase awareness and education on CVDs.
With Kenya being the programme’s first destination on the continent, its Health Minister Dr Yvette Kisaka shared the tremendous impact that the programme has made in the country’s healthcare delivery sector. She explained that the nature of NCDs and their risk factors call for multi-sector involvement in prevention and control measures.
Therefore, innovative measures were deployed to work with local stakeholders on aligning shared objectives and developing interventions that are optimised to address local challenges on a sustainable basis.
World Heart Day
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the world’s number-one killer. Combined, conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels – such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure – kill more than 20.5 million people every year. The majority of these deaths happen in low- and middle-income countries.
World Heart Day, commemorated on 29th September each year, provides an opportunity for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its member-states to join the global call and raise awareness about heart health, and accelerate actions to detect, prevent and manage cardiovascular diseases.