News / Health

World Health Day Raises Awareness of Deadliest Condition

World Health Day Raises Awareness About High Blood Pressurei
X
April 04, 2013 11:39 PM
This year, the theme of World Health Day - being marked on April 7th - is high blood pressure. It's one of the world’s biggest killers yet doctors say few people know much about it. In parts of Africa and Asia, it's a huge problem and as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, the first challenge is diagnosing it.
Henry Ridgwell
It is one of the world’s biggest killers, yet doctors say few people know much about it. This year the theme of World Health Day - on April 7 - is high blood pressure. It’s a huge problem in parts of Africa and Asia.  The first challenge is diagnosing the condition.

On an evening at Dakar beach in Senegal, the sands are packed with people exercising.
 
A recent World Health Organization report indicated that one out of eight Senegalese women aged over 20 are obese - and suffer from related diseases like high blood pressure.

Mamaty Ndiaye says she is trying to persuade her family to start getting more active.

She says they have diabetes and high blood pressure. She says she advises them to walk and to exercise a little more.

The World Health Organization has produced a hard-hitting video as part of its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers.  It says more than one in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure.  In some low-income African countries prevalence is as high as 40 percent.

Professor Majid Ezzati is Chair in Global Environmental Health at Imperial College London.

“Salt is perhaps the most important dietary determinant of high blood pressure," said Ezzati. "And that’s actually something that is culturally and geographically driven.  And many high income countries have successfully removed salt from prepared and packaged food.”

Ezzati says high blood pressure puts a huge burden on people and societies.

“It is the leading risk factor for mortality and for disease burden worldwide," he said. "It is associated obviously with cardiovascular diseases, large effects on strokes which are very common throughout Asia, on heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.”

In remote areas, doctors say one of the biggest problems is accessing healthcare.  So a team of medics has developed a solar-powered blood pressure monitor, hoping to transform diagnosis and treatment.  Andrew Shennan, Professor of Obstetrics at Kings College London is among the designers.

“We went into rural areas in Tanzania, in Zambia, in Zimbabwe, and we gave it to clinics that previously hadn’t even had blood pressure measurement," said Shennan. "We wanted to know whether the people would use it and whether it would result in people accessing the more sophisticated care in the central hospitals.  And actually it did exactly that.”

The monitors were originally developed to diagnose high blood pressure in pregnant women.  But Shennan says it could be adapted for any population.

“Although this is a very cheap device which we plan to sell for under 20 euros [$26], it is as accurate as the 10,000 pounds [$15,000] machines that I use on the intensive care unit," he said.

Togo is another African country battling the growing problem of high blood pressure. 

"Arterial high blood pressure, as many like to say, is a silent killer," said Dr. Edem Goeh-Akue, a cardiologist at Lomé University Hospital in Togo.. "It's a disease that we don't talk about it very often, but it's a disease which kills.  You can say it kills more people than AIDS but we don't talk about it a lot."

The World Health Organization hopes to get more people talking about one of the world’s biggest killers.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid