World Hypertension Day: Public Health Dept. Conducts Free Testing For FCT Residents

By: Prudence Okonna & Khadijat Kawunda

To create awareness and reduce the prevalence of hypertension among Abuja residents, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has conducted free testing for over 207 persons in the Territory.

The Non-Communicable Disease Unit of the Public Health Department (PHD) conducted the testing and sensitization during a  two-day outreach programme at Dawaki Primary Health Care Center and the Public Health Office, Area 3 Garki I District, Abuja.

Coordinator Non-Communicable Disease Unit of the Public Health Department,  Dr. Uduak Uwakmfon, said the purpose of the outreach is to create awareness and sensitize residents of the FCT on the importance of checking themselves regularly, considering that Hypertension is a silent killer.

According to Uwakmfon, nationwide study in 2017 showed overall age-standardized prevalence of hypertension at 30 percent in Nigeria.

Her words: “Risk factors such as age, changes in lifestyle, obesity, poor dietary habits/excessive salt intake, harmful alcohol consumption, physical inactivity and environmental factors are risks for developing hypertension”.

She added that having hypertension puts an individual at risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Explaining that Hypertension is a major cause of premature death and kills nearly as many people world-wide each year than infectious diseases.

Uwakmfon, however, noted that the good news is that those modifiable risk factors, if taken care of can prevent cardiovascular diseases and reduce preventable deaths.

The Coordinator revealed that besides the  outreach, there is an on-going Hypertension treatment in 60 Primary Health Care Centres by the Cardiovascular Research Unit of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada in collaboration with the Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS)-PHD and FCT Primary Health Care Board(PHCB).

She added that there is also a collaboration by the Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organization and HHSS-Public Health Department and FCT -Primary Health Care Board (PHCB) on the Nigeria Package of Essential Non- communicable diseases (Nigeria-PEN) interventions in 12 selected Primary Health Care Centres(PHCs) still targeting the prevention and treatment of hypertension and Diabetes Mellitus at the primary level of care with referrals of difficult cases to Secondary facilities.

Uwakmfon further revealed that the FCT Non- communicable Control Program, PHD is presently working with different stakeholders and is at the forefront of taking prevention and treatment to the grassroots, improving accessibility to care for Non- communicable diseases as a whole.

The world hypertension day is commemorated annually on the 17th May and t theme for 2023 is tagged ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer’.