MINISTRY OF HEALTH, ASTRAZENECA INK DEAL TO IMPLEMENT HEALTHY HEART AFRICA (HHA) PROGRAMME AS WORLD MARKS HYPERTENSION DAY
By Mulengera Reporter
Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MoH) and AstraZeneca have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalize the implementation of the Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) programme as the world marks World Hypertension Day.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas: oncology, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and Respiratory illnesses.
HHA is the company’s innovative programme aimed at tackling hypertension (high blood pressure) and the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Africa. Uganda will be the fifth country to implement the program after Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana.
“The partnership’s aim is to strengthen the provision of services for managing and preventing hypertension, including raising awareness of lifestyle risk factors for CVD, using MoH guidelines to standardise care and upskilling health workers through training and education,” said AstraZeneca in a statement.
MoH Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine Kanzira has expressed optimism that the partnership will help reduce the number of hypertension cases in Uganda.
“This year’s World Hypertension Day, which is being marked at a time when we are also tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, offers an opportunity to highlight our common determination to provide quality healthcare to all Ugandans. To achieve this, the Ministry of Health, under the guidance of His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni, shall continue to spearhead programmes that equip our healthcare system with the tools, resources, knowledge and trained personnel required to tackle both communicable and non-communicable diseases,” noted Dr Atwine.
“We are therefore excited to unveil this partnership with AstraZeneca to implement the Healthy Heart Africa programme, which will contribute to our government’s objective of reversing the high prevalence of hypertension in our country.”
Ashling Mulvaney, Head of Access to Healthcare and Global Sustainability at AstraZeneca, noted that the company will share the experience it has gained from the implementation of the HHA Program in Africa since 2014.
“We are delighted to partner with the Ugandan Ministry of Health to support the government’s goal of tackling non-communicable diseases, which are a growing public health issue for the country. Through Healthy Heart Africa, we will be able to identify barriers that hinder access to hypertension care and work together to strengthen the healthcare system by addressing the prevention, awareness and diagnosis of hypertension, as well as the education and training of health workers,” said Mulvaney. “Our experience since the first HHA programme was implemented has given us insight and learnings that will help us to implement a successful programme in Uganda together.”
Between 2014 and 2019, 14.5 million screenings have been conducted, 7,200 healthcare workers trained, 780 healthcare facilities activated and 2.6 million people with elevated blood pressure identified through the HHA Programme in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana.
It is such achievements that Uganda is gearing up as the Programme starts in the country where 24.3% of the people have elevated blood pressure while 37% are at the pre-hypertension stage according to results from the national STEPwise survey conducted in Uganda in 2014. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).