Govt. unveils strategies to control Hypertension, the silent killer


NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17, 2017 – Statistics released by the Director of Medical Services (DMS) indicates that over 90% of people undergoing treatment for hypertension have not attained control of the disease.

According to Dr. Jackson Kioko 1 in 4 Kenyans is living with the hypertension but more than half have never had their blood pressure measured.

“Hypertension is a growing concern worldwide and is one of the most important contributors to premature death from cardiovascular disease,” observed Dr. Kioko in a speech read by the Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Pacifica Onyancha, during the World Hypertension Day 2017 on Wednesday.

Dr. Kioko revealed that the Ministry of Health is developing national guidelines for cardiovascular disease management that will standardize diagnosis and care across the country. “At the moment National Hospital Insurance Fund is covering the cost of outpatient care that includes cardiovascular care and we are encouraging Kenyans to register and enjoy these benefits,” said Dr. Kioko.

Through the Managed Equipment Services, the DMS revealed that 40 dialysis centers have been established to improve the capacity of Counties to manage kidney disease and decongest the National Referral Hospitals.

“A training module for Non-Communicable Diseases for Community Heath Volunteers has been developed to increase access to healthy lifestyle advice and hypertension screening services right at the doorsteps and a curriculum for improving the capacity of health workers at dispensary and health center level is also being developed to offer basic hypertension and other NCD care, and to institute appropriate and timely referrals where need be,” added the DMS.

The World Hypertension Day takes place every year in May to raise awareness amongst the general public. The 2017 global theme is Know Your Number” and the Kenyan tag line is “Pima Pressure” calling for action for every to get screened as a vital step towards prevention of many often irreversible complications of hypertension.

Dr. Kioko noted that high blood pressure is often silent, showing no symptoms for many years even when the levels are dangerously high. In most cases, by the time one develops symptoms, cardiovascular, kidney and eye diseases, and other complications are usually advanced and the risk of emergencies like heart attack or stroke is greatly increased.

“I am appealing to Kenyans to create time to take a simple, cost-effective and rapid blood pressure test. To prevent the onset of hypertension, one should be cautious on salt intake, be physically active, maintain the ideal body weight, eat more fruits & vegetables and less processed foods & sugary drinks,” the DMS advised.

Among the factors that increase chances of getting hypertension includes use of tobacco and drinking alcohol.