Tuesday February 9 2016

Fight against hypertension spreads in Eastern Africa


In support of the Ethiopian Government’s National Strategic Action Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases, AstraZeneca, a global pharmaceutical company, has entered a partnership with a view to ultimately address the burden of hypertension for low and middle income patients across the Eastern African country.

A statement issued by the pharmaceutical company indicated that the partnership was initiated in late-2015, when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between AstraZeneca and the Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health.

Healthy Heart Africa’s expansion into Ethiopia comes on the heels of a successful series of Kenyan demonstration projects launched in October 2014.
Since then, AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and non-governmental partners, has screened over 1 million Kenyans for hypertension and identified over 150,000 Kenyans living with the condition.

“Building on the momentum of these successes in Kenya, AstraZeneca alongside the Ethiopian Government will tailor Healthy Heart Africa’s comprehensive, three-pillared framework to the local Ethiopian context,” reads the statement issued earlier in the day.

“Through this, the programme will help the Ministry decentralize and scale up high quality hypertension care and treatment,” statement further read.

It also emerged that the successes will be measured by deliveries on the core pillars of the programme, among them raising hypertension education and awareness, and importantly perhaps ensuring access to and availability of low-cost, high-quality antihypertensive treatment.

During this 12-month demonstration phase, Healthy Heart Africa is working across facilities in and around Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa and is working closely with the Government’s extensive Health Extension Programme to bring care closer to the community.

Tarek Rabah, Vice President for Africa at AstraZeneca, was quoted in a press statement as saying: “This partnership is a hallmark example of how public and private institutions can collaborate to address the rising tide of non-communicable diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We look forward to supporting Ethiopia’s fight against hypertension and cardiovascular disease more broadly by sharing our learning from Healthy Heart Africa to help the Federal Ministry of Health achieve its ambitious chronic disease targets.”

Commenting on the launch, the Federal Minister of Health of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, said: “To further tackle the growing burden of non-communicable diseases, we have decided to partner with AstraZeneca based on the commitment and leadership role in addressing the burden of hypertension in Africa.”
Hypertension is a silent, invisible killer that puts patients at high risk of developing more serious cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
Africa has the highest prevalence of adults with hypertension at 46 per cent and a quarter of all premature deaths in Africa are attributable to the condition.
AstraZeneca’s ambition through Healthy Heart Africa is to reach 10 million patients with high blood pressure by 2025, supporting the World Health Organisation’s ’25 by 25’ global monitoring framework for preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases.