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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid