KAMPALA — At least 10 Million Ugandans are expected to be screened for heart related conditions after a new initiative— Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) Programme— has been launched.
Supported by AstraZeneca, a global science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases, and Respiratory, the programme will be implemented in joint delivery with the Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB).
The programme, which is also being implemented in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana, aims to strengthen the provision of services for managing and preventing hypertension also known as High Blood Pressure (HBP), including raising awareness of lifestyle risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), using Ministry of Health guidelines to standardise care and up skilling health workers through training and education.
Speaking at the launch held at Protea Hotel in Kampala, Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health said: “At a time when we are tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, we also have an opportunity to highlight our common determination to provide quality healthcare to all Ugandans”.
“We are pleased to be entering this strong partnership with AstraZeneca. We are sure this will assist us in delivering the targets against Non Communicable Diseases, Dr. Atwine said.
HHA partners with global and local partners with the aim of sustainably improving access to hypertension care by increasing education and awareness around lifestyle choice and CVD risk factors; training healthcare providers and driving care to lower levels of the healthcare system, such as primary healthcare facilities and clinics, as well as facilitating access to treatment where appropriate.
Dr. Allan Mackenzie Program Head, AstraZeneca said the model in Uganda will consider the country’s demographic population with more than half of the country’s population under the age of 18 year.
He also said that early screening and diagnosis of ailments such as hypertension can reduce the burden including death.
“This is a milestone in our effort to ensure a more healthy and productive population by screening millions of such non communicable diseases,” Dr Tonny Tumwesigye, the Executive Director Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau whose institute will jointly implement the programme said.
Since launching in Kenya in 2014, Ethiopia in 2016, Tanzania in 2018, Ghana in 2019 and Uganda in 2020 HHA has already:
- Conducted over 15.5 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 services for hypertension.
- Activated 800 healthcare facilities in Africa to provide hypertension services, including the establishment of secure supply chains for low cost, high-quality branded antihypertensive medicines
- Identified over 2.8 million elevated blood pressure readings