AT least 33 per cent of adults in Zanzibar suffer from hypertension, it has been disclosed.
This was said by Programme Director at Health Improvement Project Zanzibar (HIPZ), a non-governmental organization, Mr Simon Kuhnert.
“It has been reported that, globally about 20 per cent of adults suffer from hypertension. In Zanzibar, the estimate is even higher at around 33 per cent and only around 10 per cent are diagnosed and treated appropriately. Such late diagnosis and treatment bring about various complications leading to high morbidity and mortality we unfortunately see here in Zanzibar,” he said.
He said this at the event where senior officers from AstraZeneca and ‘Health Heart Africa (HHA)’ teamed up with the Zanzibar Health Ministry, to step up campaign against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the devastating global health challenge.
Mr Kuhnert said that to address this challenge, the campaign will help improve services to screen, diagnose and treat patients with hypertension.
“We will be working with healthcare professionals and community members to raise awareness and increase screening to mitigate the problem associated with this critical health issue.
“To achieve this, we will work with the District Health Management teams and NCD Unit focusing on strengthening the capacity of the primary health care units – the facilities closest to the community and key components in the Essential Healthcare Package.”
“We will train health care workers, provide necessary medical equipment as well as supplies including drugs. We will deliver on-job mentorship and provide guidelines and job-aids to enable the healthcare workers to effectively do their jobs. At the same time, we will strengthen referral pathways and support the implementation of the national referral guideline,” he said.
Director, Preventive Services and Health Education in the ministry, Dr Salum Slim, officiated the event, where he urged health officers and members of the community to promote awareness on behaviour change in an effort to mitigate the challenge.
He said prevention and screening is important for individuals to know their status and indeed keep their life out of danger.
“NCDs is a real threat, we need to increase awareness to mitigate the problem and save lives. The number of people contracting NCDs including hypertension, cardiovascular problems, diabetes and other health complications,” Dr Slim said.
Director, Global Sustainable- Access to Healthcare AstraZeneca Dr Allan Mackenzie informed the audience that his company will work closely with the health ministry and other partners to ensure people understand more about NCDs, so that they can observe health precautions.