World Hypertension Day 17th May 2022 Press Statement

Press Statement

To all Media Houses

17th May 16, 2022

 

World Hypertension Day “Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer”

World Hypertension Day is celebrated each year on 17th May every year to raise awareness and mobilize international action against High Blood Pressure (HBP), the leading cause of death on the planet. It is the global initiative under which individuals, governments and the entire community advocates come together to engage in activities, increase public education, and advocate for universal access to hypertension prevention, detection and treatment

The Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana (SASNET-GHANA) is aligned with the World Hypertension League’s (WHL) expanded theme for World Hypertension Day 2022: “Measure your blood pressure, control it, and live longer”. The key messages conveyed with this theme are to increase the awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure, emphasize the importance of measuring your blood pressure regularly, and adhering to the treatment protocols enshrined in the call to action by Pan African Society of Cardiologist (PASCAR) and implement the guideline for pharmacological treatment of hypertension in adult by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Hypertension – or elevated blood pressure, is a serious medical condition, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension, it is estimated that between 10 to 20 million may have hypertension in low- and middle-income Sub Saharan Africa. While the WHOs target is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025 globally.

In Ghana, Hypertension accounts for 3/4 all cases and deaths and the possibly resulting in strokes and Heart related issues. It is estimated that ,more than 61% of the COVID-19 patients  who were hospitalized  had hypertension, 52% had diabetes, and 45% of people aged 60 – 69 who died from COVID-19 also had hypertension according the WHO article on “Non Communicable diseases increase risk of dying from COVID-19 in Africa,” 2020.

The high rate of increased blood pressure is a great concern , more than 50% of Ghanaian  adult are  living with hypertension, a key driver for high blood pressure  are ,unaware of their condition and of those who are aware, half  do not take any action to control their blood pressure either through lifestyle modification or medication. Approximately 4 in 10 adults older than 25 years have hypertension and this means 75% of the world’s hypertension population are at risk and are potential candidates for heart disease, strokes, kidney disease or even sudden death”.

As part of activities in marking this year’s World Hypertension Day 2022, the Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana in collaboration with partners will hold screening exercise in Ahafo region and organize a virtual symposium to commemorate the event.

SASNET-GHANA and the WHL are making a point that, simple health-seeking behavior change can help to prevent hypertension and keep those who are hypertensive in good health. “The importance of knowing your blood pressure status.

Already, people living with hypertension are faced with numerous challenges with regards to access to quality healthcare and high cost of medications. Most of the hypertension drugs are not on the list of the National Health Insurance Scheme. We therefore call on government to absorb the cost of our treatment and care for hypertensive patients.

It is important to strengthen the healthcare system in Ghana to offer integrated care that addresses not only hypertension but also chronic illnesses.

The Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana (SASNET-GHANA) and the World Hypertension League commend the government of Ghana for successfully launching  Ghana’s National  NCD Policy and the Strategic and implementation plan . We will collaborate with government to implement the policy especially in the area of Hypertension, Stroke, CVD and Obesity.

Finally, we call on government through the ministry of health to address the big  issue ,thus  unavailability   of hypertension drugs in some of the health centers across the country and also ask the government to supply  these health centers with functionable  digital blood pressure measuring devices for accurate measurement  in order  to minimize possible  misdiagnosis  which not checked  could lead to complications or death .

Ad Adams Ebenezer

Executive director

Website:care.sasnetghana.org

Facebook: @FightStroke.SasnetGhana

Twitter: @ghbeatstroke

Health Chat Line: 0262463986

 

 

 

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National Stroke Survivors Day 16th March 2022 Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

16th March ,2022

To All Media Houses

Stroke Association Supportwetwork-Ghana(SASNET Ghana) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with mission and vision to reduse the burden of Stroke in Ghana.

SASNET GHANA’S primary purpose includes advocacy, raising awareness, and health education/promotion, aimed at reducing the prevalence and incidence of stroke ,CVD and NCDs in Ghana.

National Stroke Survivors’ Day is commemurated annually on the 16th of March to promote the right of persons with stroke and seek better care and support for persons with Stroke in Ghana.

The theme of this year’s event is that- “community-based rehabilitation improves the quality of community life after stroke for stroke survivors.” This is consistent with the strategic objective of the organisation to set up 275 constituency based rehabilitation centres across the country for stroke survivors.

Stroke is a public health emergency, on the verge of becoming an epidemic. The organization therefore call on the Ghana government ,philanthpists, donors , etc to help in the construction of the 275 constituency based rehabilitation centres and support the implementation of our Community Life After Stroke Programme (CLASP) in oder to rebuild the life of those with Stroke especially in communities where access to stroke support and rehabilitation are not available.

The COVID 19 situation has exposed gaps in Ghana’s health Structure especially with regards to the trearment and care for Stroke in the country. Over 78% of persons affected with stroke are not able to access post discharge support neither are they able to afford the cost for the treatment of which is currently not covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS). These situation are the major hindrance to the recovery plan for persons living with strokes and a grave concern that must be addressed by government. The situation has a tendency to result in the lost of lives of persons with Stroke or at times leads a second Stroke.

The Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana (SASNET GHANA) on this special day ” National Stroke Survivors Day 2022″, call on government of Ghana to act expidiently to address these gaps indentified in order to rebuild and save the lives of those Stroke in Ghana.

Ghanians as well as persons with Stroke have the right to receiving the right medical care and support as enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana.

End

Chief Dr Ben S. Jabuni
President of SASNET GHANA

Mr Samuel Sedodo
Chair Stroke Survivors and Executive member SASNET GHANA

Ad Adams Ebenezer
Executive director SASNET GHANA

+233(0)594989495
info@sasnetghana.org

National Stroke Survivors Day 2022 Press Statement

PRESS RELEASE

16th March ,2022

To All Media Houses

Stroke Association Supportwetwork-Ghana(SASNET Ghana) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with mission and vision to reduse the burden of Stroke in Ghana.

SASNET GHANA’S primary purpose includes advocacy, raising awareness, and health education/promotion, aimed at reducing the prevalence and incidence of stroke ,CVD and NCDs in Ghana.

National Stroke Survivors’ Day is commemurated annually on the 16th of March to promote the right of persons with stroke and seek better care and support for persons with Stroke in Ghana.

The theme of this year’s event is that- “community-based rehabilitation improves the quality of community life after stroke for stroke survivors.” This is consistent with the strategic objective of the organisation to set up 275 constituency based rehabilitation centres across the country for stroke survivors.

Stroke is a public health emergency, on the verge of becoming an epidemic. The organization therefore call on the Ghana government ,philanthpists, donors , etc to help in the construction of the 275 constituency based rehabilitation centres and support the implementation of our Community Life After Stroke Programme (CLASP) in oder to rebuild the life of those with Stroke especially in communities where access to stroke support and rehabilitation are not available.

The COVID 19 situation has exposed gaps in Ghana’s health Structure especially with regards to the trearment and care for Stroke in the country. Over 78% of persons affected with stroke are not able to access post discharge support neither are they able to afford the cost for the treatment of which is currently not covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme(NHIS). These situation are the major hindrance to the recovery plan for persons living with strokes and a grave concern that must be addressed by government. The situation has a tendency to result in the lost of lives of persons with Stroke or at times leads a second Stroke.

The Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana (SASNET GHANA) on this special day ” National Stroke Survivors Day 2022″, call on government of Ghana to act expidiently to address these gaps indentified in order to rebuild and save the lives of those Stroke in Ghana.

Ghanians as well as persons with Stroke have the right to receiving the right medical care and support as enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana.

End

Chief Dr Ben S. Jabuni
President of SASNET GHANA

Mr Samuel Sedodo
Chair Stroke Survivors and Executive member SASNET GHANA

Ad Adams Ebenezer
Executive director SASNET GHANA

+233(0)594989495
info@sasnetghana.org

Happy New Year to everyone and a call on all to fight Stroke together.

The Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana (SASNET GHANA) wish all persons with stroke,cares ,health professionals, researchers,partners, etc a Happy New Year(2022). We are with a strong conviction that ,the year 2022 will be a success for all. Although COVID19 negetively impacted  on our activities last year(2021) , yet there are good days ahead for all.

SASNET- Ghana in the coming days would outline it programme of activities for the year 2022 and reach out for support in the implementation of the programs.

We look forward working with all in the  fight against Stroke ,CVD and to  rebuild the lives of those affected with stroke in Ghana ,Africa and across the globe.

Yours Sincerely

Samuel Sedodo

Chair PLWS and Executive Member SASNET GHANA

3rd National Stroke Survivors Day 16th March 2021

12,800- 16000 stroke(NCD) cases are recorded across the country annually. In KATH alone, 800-1000 cases are recorded every year.  In the Bono region Stroke tops all deaths contributing over 19% of the total deaths of NCDs in the region.  30% of stroke deaths in Ghana are link with persons of the age range of 50 years and below.  Major causes of Stroke in Ghana are; Hypertension, Diabetes, , excessive alcohol in take, blood cholesterol, sickle cell anemia, physical inactivity,tobacco smoking  and family history of stroke.

80-90% of strokes (NCD) are preventable. Rapid diagnosis and treatment are critical to survival and reducing disability. Rehabilitation and long-term support improves physical and emotional health and well-being. An integrated, holistic approach to health and care delivers better outcomes.

The economic case for tackling stroke(NCDs) as a priority is compelling. Stroke may cost Ghana’s economy over millions of dollars every year in the next five years if no comprehensive action is taken on prevention and treatment. The projected cost could treble by 2035 if government and the Ghana Health Service fail to act appropriately. However, there are well-evidenced prevention, treatment and rehabilitation interventions that can significantly reduce the impact of stroke on people’s day-to-day lives, and the financial and social burden of stroke on our country.

3 out of 7 persons affected with stroke would die in Ghana as a result of lack of access to standardized stroke treatment and management, post stroke rehabilitation and social support integration.

National Stroke Survivors day was instituted 3 years ago with aim to raise awareness on stroke prevention, Life after stroke interventions and to project the right of persons living with stroke in Ghana as enshrined in the Global Stroke Bill of Right (GSBoR) in the following bullet points; Persons with stroke have the right to receive the best stroke care, Be informed and prepared about Life after Stroke challenges , solutions, and be supported on their road to recovery.

16th March every year is dedicated to commemorate  National Stroke Survivors Day in Ghana. An event which is  spear headed by the Stroke Association Suppportnetwork-Ghana and the African Stroke Organization(ASO), World Stroke Organization(WSO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and partners.  This year’s event was held in Sunyani in the Bono region of Ghana. The theme for this year’s event  was ‘’Supporting persons living with stroke and their carers now and beyond COVID19 Era to rebuild the lives”. The event preceded with a Radio discussion on Radio BAR on the 15th of March involving team from Ministry of Health, Health promotion unit led by Mr. Mark Atuahene and leadership of the Stroke survivors of SASNET-GHANA ; Mr. Samuel Sedodo ,national stroke survivors Chairperson, Mr. Kumah Ayeh Bono region stroke survivors chairman and Mr. Ad Adams Ebenezer executive director SASNET-GHANA.

The team further visited Sunyani market and the main station to educate the public on stroke prevention and shared information on adherence to COVID19 protocol to avoid community spread.  A Symposium was held on the 16th of March at the sunyani municipal assembly hall. The Bono regional minister, Hon. Justina representative at the event who read a speech on behalf of the regional minister called on all to acknowledge the fact that, stroke could  affect anyone.  She added that, it’s important to support those affected with stroke in whatever way or means available to us as carers, family members, colleagues and friends.  Mr. Kumah Ayeh, Bono stroke survivors Chairman called on family members to stand with them in this difficult times and understand their condition in a sense that, they didn’t chose to live with stroke, but rather it occurred as an accident. He said, right relationship could help to speed up their recovery. The national Chairperson for person with stroke who doubles as an executive member for SASNET GHANA Mr. Samuel Sedodo made a strong call on government to expand the NHIS to include cost of treatment for stroke, enroll poor members of the stroke survivor network on government LEAP and lastly partners SASNET-GHANA Community Life After Stroke Program in order to reach to persons with stroke in communities where access to rehabilitation is a major challenge. Mrs. Belinda , Ag. Director social welfare Sunyani municipality touched on stroke and disability. She said, post stroke programmes must be available in the communities to improving and empower those with stroke such the post stroke community based rehabilitation CLASP by SASNET GHANA and other Livelihood programmes by government. She pledged her support for the bono stroke survivors’ network. Nana Aboa Boahemma queen mother of Sunyani traditional who represented  chiefs and queen mothers of the traditional area pledged to support   SASNET GHANA  Bono survivors network  members with assistive devices and rehab materials for the CLASP and  called on government to step up Prevention campaigns  and other support interventions  to improve the quality of lives  of those living with stroke in bono region and the country at large  .

According to the Bono regional deputy director in charge of clinical care of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Kwabena  Kumi said out of the 615 stroke cases recorded in 2020, the Sunyani municipality leads with 280 cases followed by Wenchi.

Mr. Mark Kojo Atuahene, acting Head of Public Health and Health Promotion Unit of the MoH, said , government have prioritized concerns of the Persons living with Stroke and gave the assurance that ,the ministry would continue to support them to improve their well-being.

Mr. Atuahene said, MoH would enhance partnership with stakeholders such as the National Health Insurance Authority, SASNET-GHANA and other health centered NGOs to help address challenges facing persons with stroke in Ghana.  Mr. Ad Adams Ebenezer, Executive director of Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana (SASNET-GHANA) said, the nation records between 12,000-16,000 stroke cases annually with diabetes, hypertension, alcoholism and smoking being major contributory causes. He advised the public to desist from stigmatizing and discriminating against people living with stroke rather than support them to seek medical support. Mr. Ad Adams added that, carers ,  family members, Stroke multidisciplinary team must be celebrated for their hard, continues support and role in rebuilding the lives of those affected with stroke and called on government to partner and  support SASNET GHANA’s Community Based Life After Stroke Rehabilitation program aimed to provide rehabilitation support in the hard to reach  communities where access to post stroke rehabilitation is a  challenge for persons living with stroke.

Mr. Ad Adams said, the initiative would make rehabilitation accessible for all especially persons affected with stroke within the communities to leave no one behind. He added that, SASNET GHANA in collaboration with  MoH, GHS and other partners would kick start a nationwide  Community-to-Community awareness campaign on Stroke ,Hypertension and CVD from April 2021 to September 2021.

Being screened for Hypertension is key to stroke prevention – Executive director and Co-founder SASNET-GHANA

There is the need to medically test or check your BP and know whether one is hypertensive or not, as a key step towards stroke prevention.

This is because while hypertension is a leading cause of stroke, many people living with it are not even aware of it.

Mr. Ad Adams Ebenezer, Executive Director, Stroke Association Support Network (SASNET)-Ghana and Board Director, World Stroke Organization, told the Ghana News agency in an interview that a key point in stroke prevention was knowing one’s risk factors.

He urged people to check their blood pressure levels, exercise regularly, reduce salt intake, avoid excessive alcohol intake, and generally indulge in healthy habits.

Mr. Ad Adams advised against drug abuse and self medication, and described such behaviour as high risk where stroke was concerned.

He appealed to the government to make it a priority to assist persons living with stroke because the condition rendered one quite incapable of taking care of him or herself, which made it impossible for stroke sufferers to be without assistance.

“Stroke sufferers are living in abject poverty. We urge the government to enrol them in the lively hood empowerment programme (LEAP) by Social Welfare  department, Ghana,” the SASNET Executive Director said.

Mr. Ad Adams also appealed to the government to support the one constituency one rehabilitation center initiative, not only for people living with stroke, but others in similar conditions as well.

Mr. Samuel Sedodo, Chairperson, Persons living with Stroke in Ghana in a speech to mark World Stroke Day, which was marked in October called on government to support SASNET Ghana’s Community Life after Stroke Programme, which brings rehabilitation support to the doorsteps of persons living with stroke within the country’s Communities.

“Government must as a matter of urgency, partner with SASNET-Ghana’s Community Life after Stroke Programme, and enroll stroke survivors unto the programme, as some of my friends are living in absolute poverty within the communities,” he said.

Mr. Sedodo also urged the government to implement the Global Stroke Bill of Right which seeks to support and improve the lives of those affected with stroke.

Currently, stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and the second leading cause of death, but almost all strokes can be prevented.

The World Stroke Organization (WSO) report estimates that this year, about 14.5 million people world-wide would have a stroke and out of this, 5.5 million are expected to die.

This year’s World Stroke Day was marked in Accra in October. The World Stroke Day 2020 was officially launched by a representative for the Health Minister Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Themed, “Stroke Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation in Ghana . The event was jointly organized by Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana (SASNET GHANA) and the Ministry of Health with support  from Wessex  Ghana Stroke partnership, Korle Bu Stroke Unit , Dr. Albert Akpalu senior Neurologist, lecturer  and researcher, Dr Nana  Kwame Antwi Boa Neurology Senior resident and Physician specialist VRA Hospital , Physiotherapy Association Ghana, Occupational Therapy Association, Speech Language and Audiologist Association, Ghana Psychology council, Ghana NCD Alliance , Ghanaian cardiologist Association, Ghana Heart Initiative and World Health Organization representative Dr. Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo.

Stroke happens either when the blood supply to part of your brain is cut off because of a blood clot, or because a brain artery ruptures and leads to a hemorrhage. Stroke is the leading cause of death and disability globally. one  in four persons (1 in4) will have a stroke in their life time , knowing your risk factor to prevent stroke is very crucial.

World Hypertension Day “Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer”

17 October 2020 is World Hypertension Day

Hypertension – or elevated blood pressure, is a serious medical condition, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension, it is estimated that between 10 to 20 million may have hypertension in low- and middle-income Sub Saharan Africa. While the WHOs target is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025 globally, the COVID-19 pandemic is the unpredictable barrier to achieving this target.

There is increasing evidence across the globe that people living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension, are more likely to suffer severe cases of COVID-19 and die, report by the WHO. In Ghana, Hypertension accounted for 3/4 all cases and deaths and the possibly resulting in strokes. It is estimated that ,more than 61% of the COVID-19 patients in hospitals had hypertension, 52% had diabetes, and 45% of people aged 60 – 69 who died from COVID-19 also had hypertension according the WHO article on “Non Communicable diseases increase risk of dying from COVID-19 in Africa,” 2020.

The Stroke Association Supportnetwork-Ghana (SASNET-GHANA) a members of the WHL aligns with the World Hypertension League’s (WHL) expanded theme for World Hypertension Day 2020: “Measure your blood pressure, control it, and live longer”. The key messages conveyed with this theme are to increase the awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure, emphasize the importance of measuring your blood pressure regularly, and adhering to the treatment plan as prescribed by your doctor.  World Hypertension Day is normally celebrated annually on the 17th May although in 2020 the WHL postponed this date to 17th October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a WHO preliminary analysis (September, 2020) for 14 countries in the African region, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma were the co-morbidities most associated with COVID-19 patients.  These chronic conditions require continuous treatment, but as governments address the ongoing pandemic, health services for NCDs have been severely disrupted.  Moreover, individuals who should be accessing health care are reluctant to do so for fear of becoming infected with COVID-19.

The high rate of increased blood pressure is a great concern , more than 50% of Ghanaian  adult are  living with hypertension, a key driver for cardio-vascular disease, are unaware of their condition and of those who are aware, half  do not take any action to control their blood pressure either through lifestyle modification or medication. Approximately 4 in 10 adults older than 25 years have hypertension and this means 75% of the world’s hypertension population are at risk and are potential candidates for heart disease, strokes, kidney disease or even sudden death”.  SASNET-GHANA makes the point that, simple health-seeking behavior change can help to prevent hypertension and keep those who are hypertensive in good health. “The importance of knowing your blood pressure status and taking your medication if you are hypertensive is of paramount importance.

What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?

Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the body’s arteries, the major blood vessels in the body.  Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is when the blood pressure is too high.

 

Measured blood pressure is written as two numbers (fraction).  Systolic (the top/ numerator) number represents the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats – called systolic pressure.   Then the diastolic (bottom/ denominator) number represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart relaxes or rests between beats – called diastolic pressure

 

Hypertension is diagnosed if, when it is measured on different sites, positions or days, the systolic blood pressure readings on the days is > 140mmHg and the diastolic blood pressure readings is > 90 mmHg.

Oftentimes when a person has hypertension will feel no signs/ symptoms.  But at certain times: during hypertension Stage 1 a person might feel slight headaches, dizziness, vision problems irregular heartbeat or difficulty in breathing which might even worsen with stage 2 going to hypertensive crisis.

 The Drivers of Hypertension

Hypertension can be familial or it can be associated with other medical conditions. The likelihood of blood pressure also increases with age. More than 60% of adult Ghanaians over the age of 55 years are known to have high blood pressure. In addition, other contributory risk factors may contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes and other circulatory diseases such as:

  • an unhealthy diet (consisting of too much salt, sugar and unhealthy fats)
  • consumption of excessive alcohol
  • tobacco smoking
  • being overweight
  • Being physically inactive

Age being a risk factor for hypertension, as one grows/ ages the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. Thus, increasing the number of times, a person can have their blood pressure measurements taken, including visits to the doctor. The American Heart Association recommends that adults with normal blood pressure should get blood pressure checked each year at routine health visits. If you are between ages 40-59, it should be checked and monitored once to twice according to the findings/ readings/ family history. Then at 60 and above as the risk is higher, at least have it checked twice/ more annually, depending on the readings/ findings/ family history.

 Prevention, Management and Control of   Hypertension

Making small lifestyle changes can make steady improvements in blood pressure. Together, these changes can make a big difference!

●      Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, also known as the DASH diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts; and limits sugary drinks, sweets and red meat.

●      Cut down on salt. A high salt intake is linked to high blood pressure. Reduce the salt added to food during cooking and at the table. Make use of fresh and dried herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, chili and lemon juice to add flavor to food, without adding too much salt or salty ingredients like chicken or BBQ spice. Foods like packet soups, stock cubes, gravies, cheese, many breakfast cereals, breads, salty snacks, processed meats and fast foods are very high in salt, so should be used sparingly too.

 

●      Get active. Moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity can effectively reduce systolic blood pressure over several months by an average of 10 mmHg.

●      Be smoke-free. After each cigarette blood pressure will temporarily increase for 30 minutes! Chronic smoking increases the stiffness of blood vessel walls, making the damage caused by high blood pressure even worse.

 

●      Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. If overweight, losing even 2 to 5 kg of weight can already help to reduce blood pressure, and even greater reductions can be achieved with further weight loss towards a healthy weight.

●      Manage stress. Stress and anxiety can directly increase blood pressure and indirectly lead to unhealthy habits such as poor dietary choices, not enough exercise, and tobacco or alcohol use.

●      Limit alcohol. People with very high blood pressure should ideally avoid alcohol completely or discuss their alcohol intake with their doctor first.

●      Take medication regularly. Not taking blood pressure medications correctly is one of the most common causes of uncontrolled high blood pressure. Prescribed medication for hypertension should be taken regularly as instructed by a doctor or nurse.

Complications of uncontrolled hypertension

High blood pressure causes damage to the blood vessels, including the blood vessels inside some of the organs such as the eyes, the kidneys and the brain. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. The increased workload can also weaken the heart and lead to heart failure. Tiredness, shortness of breath and swollen ankles are often experienced. Blood pressure medication should always be taken exactly as prescribed and should not be stopped or changed unless advised to do so by a medical doctor.

 Importance of getting health professional advice:

Blood pressure medication should always be taken exactly as prescribed and should not be stopped or changed unless advised to do so by a medical doctor.

Know your numbers. Even when taking blood pressure medication, blood pressure may remain too high or increase again over time. Blood pressure should be checked regularly, or as recommended by a doctor or nurse. “Measure your blood pressure, Control it, Live Longer”

 For more information

Ad Adams Ebenezer

Website:care.sasnetghana.org

Facebook: @FightStroke.SasnetGhana

Twitter: @ghbeatstroke

Health Chat Line: 0262463986

 

 

Bridging the accountability gap between commitments and action on NCDs

Accountability involves monitoring of commitments and how governments are using resources, and tracking policies and actions of public and private sector to identify what works and why and where increased action is needed for them to fulfil the health needs and rights of all people.

Mr. Michael U., a person living with Stroke/NCD demand accountability on action taken by governments in Africa on NCDs.(African Stroke Organization, ASO)

Governments have committed to many targets for NCD prevention and control through the UN. We can all help ensure that commitments translate into targets met, to turn back the tide on the NCD epidemic. Civil society, academia and private sector, all have a role to play. Greater accountability actions across sectors can help bridge the glaring accountability gap for progress on NCDs.

A decade of global commitments on NCDs

Noncommunicable diseases, or NCDs, are the cause of 70% of deaths globally – many of them preventable or premature – and they also carry a crippling economic burden for countries, communities and families. Both the health and economic burdens of NCDs fall heaviest on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), making NCDs a major development issue as well. Historically, NCDs have been overlooked by governments, but since 2015 when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted, they have – finally – been recognised as a global health issue in need of an urgent response.

NCDs have made their way onto international development agendas, and global targets have been set by the United Nations and the World Health Organization, starting with the 2011 UN Political Declaration on NCD Prevention and Control, which resulted from the first United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on NCDs in 2011. There is also the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020, with its overarching goal to reduce the number of premature deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025. In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 3.4 addresses NCDs specifically, and world leaders committed to a one-third reduction in deaths between 30 and 70 years of age from four key NCDs – cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes – by the year 2030.

Other commitments to address NCDs and the risk factors driving them – such as unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, and alcohol and tobacco use – have been made at subsequent UN meetings of Heads of State in recent years. Since 2018, mental health has been added to the NCDs requiring urgent global action and air pollution has been recognised as a fifth major global risk factor.

Thanks to plans and commitments like these, the world now has a global agenda based on concrete targets for prevention and control of NCDs. Unfortunately, more than half of the world’s countries are likely to miss the targets for SDG 3.4.

According to the latest NCD Countdown report, only 17 countries for women and 15 countries for men are on track to achieve the goal. Meanwhile, NCD mortality has stagnated or increased since 2010 for women in 15 countries and men in 24 countries.

Worldwide, deaths from stroke, heart disease and stomach cancer are falling. However, deaths from diabetes, lung cancer, colon cancer and liver cancer are stagnating or rising in many countries.

Despite this critical situation, an alarming number of countries are lacking even the most fundamental building blocks of a national response. According to the WHO’s NCD Progress Monitor, 26% of all countries do not have a multisectoral national NCD plan in place, and one-third of countries lack time-bound national NCD targets to drive and monitor progress.

One key factor behind this lack of progress at national level is a lack of accountability, defined as a cyclical process of monitoring (data collection), review (analysis) and action (advocacy and dissemination of messages). In other words, looking at what your local or national government has promised to do alongside what they have actually done and achieved. It also analyses actions taken in order to learn more about what works, what doesn’t, and why. Although accountability is often neglected or overlooked, when accountability actions are carried out well, they can result in real, tangible action. The International Accountability Panel for Every Woman Every Child advocates use this framework.

 

Accountability success stories

One example can be found in the Caribbean, where the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and its members conducted a benchmarking exercise of NCD commitments by governments, assessed national NCD commissions, built obesity scorecards and developed a strategic plan for internal and external accountability. These tools are used to develop roadmaps, identify priorities and advocate for policies and systems at the country and regional levels. As a result, the obesity scorecard and regional report on national NCD commissions have triggered action on key issues.

There have also been several concrete wins in the region, like the sugar-sweetened beverage tax imposed in Barbados, the anti-tobacco legislation passed in Guyana, and the development of a standardised hypertension treatment project now being scaled up in Barbados and possibly throughout the region.

As another example, the East Africa NCD Alliance undertook a regional benchmarking exercise in 2014, in which NCDA’s benchmarking tool was adapted to the East African context for data collection.  It examined the level of priority given to NCDs in development and health plans; the strength of national capacity, multi-sectoral action and partnerships for NCDs; progress on the reduction of NCD risk factors and social determinants; progress and reorienting health systems to address NCDs; and progress on establishing NCD monitoring and evaluation targets.

The findings were used to develop a civil society NCD charter as an evidence-based advocacy tool to demand universal health coverage including NCDs, the integration of NCDs in national development plans, and integrated primary care for NCDs.

Finally, in Latin America, the NCD Alliance Peru noticed that tobacco companies were among the sponsors in a series of UN Global Compact (UNGC) symposiums in the region relating the achievement of SDGs. Various actions were carried out. For example, the alliance sent letters to the organizers in Peru, the UNDP, and the president of the UNGC. Letters were also sent from international civil society networks, and a press conference was held on the issue. As a result, the UNGC Board announced the exclusion of tobacco companies from its work. Internationally, the initiative has led to vigilance regarding events across countries.

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