•To mark the programme’s nine-year anniversary, the company and partners hosted a webinar to take stock of achievements to date and discuss future strategies to tackle the rising burden of CVDs and NCDs across Africa.
•The number of adults suffering from high blood pressure in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to reach 216.8 million by 2030, according to WHO.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca and partners are commemorating nine years in the fight against hypertension.
The company says its Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme has helped decrease the burden of cardiovascular diseases and non-communicable diseases on the continent
In a statement, AstraZeneca said the HHA programme has conducted over 38.5 million blood pressure screenings; diagnosed over 3.1 million people; trained over 10,600 healthcare workers and activated more than 1,300 healthcare facilities to provide hypertension services in Africa.
To mark the programme’s nine-year anniversary, the company and partners hosted a webinar to take stock of achievements to date and discuss future strategies to tackle the rising burden of CVDs and NCDs across Africa.
The discussion featured insights on the role of public-private partnerships in supporting primary healthcare, drawing on lessons from the HHA programme.
Panellists included representatives from ministries of Health in implementing countries and programme partners, including PATH, Population Services International (PSI), Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), African Christian Health Associations Platform (ACHAP), and Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB).
Dr Yvette Kisaka, programmes lead, division of NCDs prevention and control at Kenya's Ministry of Health, said: “We need to strengthen health systems to achieve Universal Health Coverage, as envisioned by Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and wellbeing. That is why, together with partners, we are developing strategies such as the National Guidelines for the Management of Cardiovascular Diseases. We applaud the Healthy Heart Africa programme’s pivotal role in the fight against cardiovascular disease in Kenya and continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure a healthier future for our citizens.”
The statement from Astrazeneca said the HHA programme is on track to achieve its ambition of reaching 10 million people with elevated blood pressure by 2025, with 7.7 million readings recorded thus far.
It said that HHA supports local health system resilience by addressing the barriers that prevent access to care by increasing awareness of the symptoms and risks of hypertension and educating around healthy lifestyle choices; training providers and driving care to lower levels of the healthcare system; and offering health screening, and access to treatment and disease management.
"Starting its journey in Kenya in 2014 and subsequently expanding to Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Rwanda, Nigeria and Zanzibar, HHA supports sustainable models by working with local health systems. Our approach to addressing the burden of hypertension works best when integrated into existing health systems, working in partnership at a local level," the statement said.
Qutaiba Al Manaseer, senior director of corporate affairs for the Middle East & Africa region at AstraZeneca, said: “Healthy Heart Africa demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships in delivering sustainable solutions that strengthen the resilience of local health systems. We will continue collaborating with stakeholders to tackle the silent killer that is hypertension and to improve patient outcomes.”
According to the World Health Organization, hypertension affects one in three adults worldwide and Africa has the highest prevalence of hypertension in any region.
The number of adults suffering from high blood pressure in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to reach 216.8 million by 2030, according to WHO.
A quarter of Kenyan adults live with high blood pressure, the Ministry of Health says.
In 2019, more than 1 million deaths were due to cardiovascular diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, which constituted 5.4 per cent of all global CVD-related deaths and 13 per cent of all deaths in Africa.