AstraZeneca, the Ghana Health Service and PATH Ghana have marked the one-year anniversary of the Healthy Heart Africa programme’s launch in Ghana.
Over the first year of implementation, the programme has conducted over 275,800 blood pressure screenings in communities; 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% prevalence of hypertension among persons aged 15 to 49 years.
Prevalence among male respondents was 12.1% and 13.4% among females. Among those who were diagnosed with hypertension, 45.6% were previously aware of their hypertension status, 40.5% were receiving treatment for the condition, and 23.8% had their blood pressure controlled.
“Ghana Health Service has worked with the Healthy Heart Africa programme to increase awareness and demand for hypertension services by maximising opportunities for screening and linking patients to care.
“On the occasion of the programme’s one-year anniversary in Ghana, I wish to express our gratitude for the programme’s support in improving hypertension service delivery in the Ashanti Region, and to emphasize the need to be aware of the dangers of elevated blood pressure – particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic – and to seek help when needed. Ghana Health Service will 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 Ghana,” said Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director General of the Ghana Health Service.
The programme is currently implemented in 35 facilities within seven districts of the Ashanti Region, and has trained over 120 healthcare workers to provide education and awareness, screening and treatment. In addition, HHA has 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 has been spotlighted by the challenges that the global healthcare community is currently facing in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. I am pleased to mark one year of the Healthy Heart Africa programme’s implementation 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 on contributing 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, AstraZeneca.
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 community health systems. “The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised 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, which 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,
- Conducted over 15.09 million blood pressure screenings in the community and in healthcare facilities
- Trained over 7,290 healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, community health volunteers and pharmacists to provide education and awareness, screening and treatment
- Activated 800 healthcare facilities in Africa to provide hypertension services
- Identified over 2.72 million people with elevated blood pressure.