Hypertension Ranks High in South East

The President of The Nigerian Hypertension Society (NHS), Prof Ayodele Omotoso, on Monday said the South-East geopolitical zone bears the highest burden of hypertension in the country.

He made this known in Abuja at the 23rd Annual General Meeting and scientific conference themed, “Tackling the burden of hypertension in Nigeria from primary to tertiary care,” and sub-themed, “Telemedicine as a tool for hypertension control in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Omotoso, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, and Consultant Cardiologist at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State, said the burden of hypertension in Nigeria is enormous and needs urgent attention.

“Nationally, the prevalence is around 30-40 per cent across the board. But when you look at the distribution in the geopolitical zones in the country, we do know that in South East, we have about 44 per cent; in North-East, it is about 42 per cent, and in other areas, it is about 25-30 per cent across the various geopolitical zones.

“When you translate that to actual figures using the current population, you will know that the burden runs into millions. Let’s say we have 120 million in the adult range in the 200 million estimated Nigerian population, just look at 30 per cent of that, that is like saying we have about 40 million Nigerians with hypertension”. He said.

Prof Solomon Kadiri, a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Group of the International Society of Hypertension, while affirming Omotosho’s statement said hypertension has become a burden in the past few decades.

Kadiri, who is a nephrologist and the keynote speaker at the conference said, “Nigerians need to be aware that hypertension is a problem, and they need to have their high pressure checked. Adults should have their blood pressure checked twice a year, if they have shown to be hypertensive, they should have their blood pressure checked more frequently.”

Also speaking, the Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee for the conference, Dr Manmak Mamven, said there is a need for a comprehensive and collaborative approach to combat hypertension as a silent killer.

Mamven, who is also a Consultant Nephrologist at the University Of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja, said stress and substance abuse contribute to the prevalence rate of hypertension in the country.

“The stress going on in the country now is a factor and substance abuse. I have seen some of them coming to the hospital with hypertension, and when you dig deep you will find out that it is linked to substance abuse even in younger ones,” she said.

On the part of the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on health matters Dr Salma Anas, the Federal Government is intensifying efforts at increasing awareness of the disease.

“We need to do more on awareness creation, prevention interventions, and the community to spread the message. Collectively, we will be able to reduce the scourge of hypertension,” she assured.

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