May 26th 2017

Society / Health & Science

Kenya marks World Hypertension Day with growing calls for awareness

According to Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services in Kenya, Dr Pauline Onyancha, one out of four people in Kenya is affected by hypertension and so people should not ignore going out for checkup. "People should stop assuming that they are safe from non communicable diseases (NCDs).

By Lucy Mwihakilmwihaki@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 17 May 2017 16:24 EAT

(L-R): A national hypertension ambassador, Dr Lilian Mbua from AMREF, senior deputy director of medical services Dr Pauline Onyancha, and Mr Ephantus Maree of the Ministry of Health. (Photo: Lucy Mwihaki/Kenya Free Press).

The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Kenya Cardiac Society (KCS) and other stakeholders commemorated World Hypertension Day at Uhuru Park Garden this morning. The event’s aim was to encourage the Kenyans to have their blood pressure measured. This event was forming the recently launched long campaign dubbed Pima Pressure.

The World Hypertension Day activities was to implement free screenings in various counties at health facilities and institutions throughout May as part of the Pima Pressure campaign which is part of the May Measurement Month. In this month the Ministry plans to screen at least 200,000 people where they intend to provide cardiovascular health education at the national and community levels.

According to Senior Deputy Director of Medical Services in Kenya, Dr Pauline Onyancha, one out of four people in Kenya is affected by hypertension and so people should not ignore going out for checkup. The main objective of the event was to create awareness to the Kenyans, she added that, “people should stop assuming that they are safe from non communicable diseases (NCDs)" which have no symptoms.

She advised the Kenyans to register in the National Health Insurance Fund to cater for chronic diseases that come as a result of hypertension.  The diseases include the stroke, cardiac arrest, diabetes, cancer and also blood pressure. She added that the main solution to hypertension is a NEW START, which she broke down into:

N - Nutrition, with people required to always consume nutritious food,

E - Exercise, where people should do physical activities,

W - Water, at least seven glasses of water per person per day,

S - Sunshine, which provides vitamin D essential in our body,

T - Templates (Consume food moderately),

A - Air. Inhalation of impure air that contains tobacco smoke, can cause lung cancer,

R - Rest. Don’t over relax or under relax. Relax moderately, and

T - Trust in God.

The NCDs are caused by lack of diet that comprises of vegetables and fruits, lack of physical exercise, a lot of alcohol consumption and excess tobacco, a lot of sugary products, salty products, over relaxing. The high blood pressure disease has got no symptoms and this makes it hard to be detected. It’s advisable to check your pressure twice a month, failure to which one could suffer serious diseases like the stroke, Professor Gerald added.

The HTN Ambassador who is a stroke victim advised Kenyans to go for check up and whatever the results, they should accept the fact that they are affected. They should start with their medications and they should not ignore the events that are providing health facilities for free.

Athanas Kipchumba and Julliet Mwihaki contributed reporting.

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