By Dickson Omobola
Experts drawn from various health organisations across the globe, last week in Lagos, dissected hypertension management in Nigeria, and urged that the primary health care system be strengthened.
They noted that the provision of healthcare funds and implementation of a task shifting system are some of the means through which primary health care can be bolstered.
The experts who spoke include Professor Daniel Piñeiro of the World Health Foundation; Dr Taskeen Khan of the World Health Organisation; Minister of Health Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria Stakeholders, Dr Osagie Ehanire; Chairman, Executive Council, Nigeria Heart Foundation, Dr Femi Mobolaji-Lawal; and Chairman Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, Professor Akin Osibogun.
They spoke at a roundtable meeting themed: “Management of Hypertension in Nigeria: Strengthening Primary Health Care System Through Task Shifting and Basic Health Care Provision Fund,” organised by the World Health Foundation and Nigeria Heart Foundation in Lagos.
Delivering a lecture on “Roadmap on Hypertension,” Co-chair, Pan-African Society of Cardiology, Dr Dike Ojji, pointed out that low awareness, the government, unaffordability of medication and lack of machines in primary health care centres serve as obstacles in the management of hypertension.
“A lot of our primary healthcare centres don’t even have blood pressure machines. How can they screen for blood pressure without it? Medications are getting cheaper, we can have these companies manufacturing in our country, making it more affordable for our people, just like the Indians have done,” Ojji said.
On his part, Programme Officer, Hypertension, Resolve To Save Lives, RTSL, Dr Kufor Osi, who spoke on “Ongoing Strategies and Programmes for Hypertension Prevention and Care at the Primary Health Care Level in Nigeria,” recommended that the government should increase funding and support for hypertension treatment, adding that it should also finalise pending policy instruments such as the Task Shifting/Task sharing Policy and Non-Communicable disease policy. Osi stressed that Basic Health Care Provision Fund, BHCPF, be optimised to cover hypertension care and treatment at primary healthcare centres.
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