By CHIOMA OBINNA
Worried about the burden of hypertension in Nigeria, the Nigerian Heart Foundation, NHF, has adopted five out of the nine UN targets to drastically reduce deaths caused by hypertension and its related complications in Nigeria and Africa at large.
The World Health Organisation, WHO, had in 2011 during the World Health Assembly endorsed nine historic targets to reduce premature deaths from non communicable disease, NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025. Hypertension being the most important causes of premature death is estimated to hit 1.56 billion adults by 2025.
Speaking in Lagos on this year’s World Heart Day with the theme: “Changing the face of Cardio Vascular Diseases, CVDs, in Africa”, Executive Director, NHF, Dr Kingsley Akinroye said the adoption of the evidence – based strategies was part of efforts to ensure that Africa attains the UN 25 per cent reduction in NCDs by 2025.
Akinroye said the five areas of focus are blood pressure, dietary salt intake, tobacco smoking, diabetes and alcohol intake. “We intend to target at least 25 per cent relative reduction in the prevalence of raised blood pressure; dietary salt intake is targeted at reducing intake of salt less than five grams per day and for tobacco smoking tends to be reduced to 40 per cent prevalence of current tobacco smoking”.
“10 per cent reduction in the prevalence of diabetes while for alcohol will be 10 per cent relative reduction in persons aged 15 and above alcohol per capita consumption.”
Akinroye who is also the Vice President of World Health Federation, WHF, lauded the theme of the Day, adding that NHF identifies with the theme because hypertension has been known as the number one heart disease all over the world.
“We intend to change the face of CVD in Africa by focusing on the country- level to adopt strong evidence – based targets to avert millions of deaths by 2025, in Nigeria and Africa.”
“Hypertension is the leading cause of CVDs worldwide, and people with hypertension are more likely to develop complications of diabetes. It is also called ‘silent killer’ because it often has no warning signs or symptoms.