February 18, 2020

Expert worries over high rate of HBP, diabetes among market women

NCD Alliance laments Nigeria’s neglect for hypertension, diabetes, others

By Chioma Obinna

It was a shocking revelation last week when 90 per cent of over 1000 market women in Lagos was diagnosed with High Blood Pressure.  None of the women knew they were hypertensive.

The revelation came to light during a four-day community free medical screening for hypertension and blood sugar/diabetes organised by Amal Outreach for over 1,000 market women in Lagos Island West, particularly those in Oke-Arin; Olowogbowo and Balogun axis.

Dr. Kofoworola Sadiq, a medical practitioner who attended to the market women from the Paediatric Department, Mother and Child Centre, Eti Osa, Lagos, noted that the majority of the people screened have HBP, with some in a pre-hypertensive state, and if neglected, could develop severe complications.

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Sadiq said while about 90 per cent of the people screened have high blood pressure, a few have severe diabetes that requires urgent admission in the hospital to avoid any grave complications.

“About 90 per cent of them have high blood pressure; just a few of them have diabetes.

The unfortunate thing is that the few that have diabetes, the values are quite outrageous. If it were to be in a proper hospital setting, we would have admitted some of them,” she said.

Common causes of the two non-communicable diseases are  stress, family history, poor living conditions, poor lifestyle, lack of exercise, bad eating habit, poor drug noncompliance when given medication to regulate their health after visiting the doctor, use it just once and them because they no longer feel the symptoms they used to, they stop taking the drugs.”

Earlier, the Co-founder, Amal Outreach, Dr. Folake Lawal, said from research conducted, hypertension is more common among the people, as it is double the amount of diabetes, noting that both diseases are the top most common non-communicable diseases in the world and are called silent killers.

Lawal who is also an Infectious Disease expert explained that the free medical outreach was in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) three, which is to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being.

“As part of our corporate social responsibility, we are not only screening the community for hypertension and diabetes but also dispensing medication, providing linkage to care at Primary Health Centres and local private clinics, provide follow up kit and post health fair community support.

“It is estimated that three out of every 10 Nigerians have hypertension, while one of every 10 has Diabetes Mellitus.

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These diseases when uncontrolled lead to complications such as kidney failure, heart disease, strokes sometimes leading to crippling expenses, lost wages and productivity to patients and their families.

“Primary health care should serve as a foundation for prevention, early diagnosis, and management; however, these services are underutilized all over the country.

We hope/believe that Community interventions such as ours hold great promise in reducing the burden of diseases in the chosen communities,” she added.