NCD Alliance Calls for Increased Awareness on Hypertension

Screening exercises during the May Measurement month Screening exercises during the May Measurement month - pic courtesy of NCD Alliance Malawi

Lack of awareness and screening among most Malawians is said to be derailing efforts to fight growing cases of hypertension in the country, with a current prevalence rate standing at 16 percent.

A member of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Alliance responsible for high Blood Pressure (BP) Henry Ndlobvu, has told Zodiak Online on Saturday that the country is not doing much in ensuring that people are aware and screened to get assistance.

Ndlobvu said the country needs to do more awareness raising and screaning to counter the rising health problem.

Ndlobvu commenting from the knowledge of a 10-year STEPS Survey conducted in 2017 by Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation, WHO, has a strong conviction, this is the way to combat the disease.

"Generally, I think we are not doing that much, but what we need to focus on is to ensure that many people are aware and get screened for Blood Pressure because most of people are not aware on how their BP are.

"But there are some activities like for example under NCD Alliance we do May Measurement Month where we ensure that people are aware and screened for Blood pressure, but it’s done in few districts," he said.

Meanwhile, Head of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Jonathan Chiwanda, is upbeat, Malawi is winning the battle against hypertension commonly referred to as BP.

Dr. Chiwanda indicated among others, the Ministry is strengthening capacity for secondary level health facilities to start managing complicated hypertension cases, citing Neno, Karonga and Salima districts who have been equipped with the capacity.

"As a ministry we are winning in prevention and control for hypertension as one of the common NCDs in Malawi. We have put in place an action plan and strategies to strengthen capacity for secondary level health facilities to start managing complicated hypertension.

"Through the establishment of Package of Essential Non-Communicable Diseases (WHO-PEN Plus), firstly in Neno, Karonga and Salima, we are creating an environment where over the time there will be reduced referrals to central hospitals and hence reduce distances clients would travel to get treated while improving their quality of lives," he said.

Dr. Chiwanda however, appealed to Malawians to change their unhealthy habits like excessive alcohol drinking, high salt consumption, lack of physical exercises, smoking and other unhealthy foods which are major causes of hypertension or BP.

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