Four in ten Tanzanians suffer from hypertension

FOUR out of ten people in the country are suffering from hypertension, a rising alarm that has forced the government to step up the treatment scope by allowing dispensaries to start offering the services.

In dealing with the rising cases of hypertension diseases, the government has endorsed the treatment services at dispensary levels by allowing them to dispense two medicines at primary levels.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday during the marking of the World Hypertension Day, Minister for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu said hypertension is a leading non-communicable disease (NCD) in the country.

She said according to a community surveillance conducted recently, cases of hypertension diseases have doubled in five years.

According to the Health Statistical Bulletin of 2022, she said there are increasing cases of hypertension from 688,901 patients in 2017 to 1,345,847 in 2021, which is 95.4 per cent increase.

Minister Ummy said since 2015, when Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) started offering services to-date, 66 per cent of the patients are suffering from hypertension.

“This means out of ten patients attending treatment at JKCI, six of them are suffering from hypertension diseases,” said Ms Mwalimu.

Moreover, she said, according to surveillance carried out in Coast, Arusha, Geita, Mtwara, Lindi, Zanzibar, Iringa and Dar es Salaam statistics have it that between three to four out of ten people are having low or high blood pressure.

The trend is the cause of stroke, heart attack and heart failure diseases which are major reasons for increasing cases of sudden deaths.

The minister said 90-95 per cent of the patients are due to primary hypertension as there are scientific causes and the remaining per cent are caused by secondary hypertension, which are due to hormone imbalance, kidney problems and lung complications.

Minister Ummy said hypertension and other non-communicable diseases treatment have always been offered by specialities but with the increasing number of cases, the government has seen the need to allow dispensaries to start offering the services.

Moreover, she said, hypertension disease treatment has been dispensed from health centres to national hospitals levels, whereas the government is improving infrastructures and equipment to ensure the patients get the best services.

The minister called upon the community to change lifestyle, observe healthy eating and undertaking physical activities to contain NCD.

World Hypertension Day is held on 17 May. This year, the theme for this important worldwide activity is Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer, focusing on combatting low awareness rates worldwide, especially in low to middle income areas and accurate blood pressure measurement methods.

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