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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid