A new two-year hypertension programme has been launched to evaluate the impact and control of the diseases in Ghana
The Novartis Foundation and its partners have begun screening patients in the Community-based Hypertension Improvement Project (ComHIP), a two-year programme designed to evaluate the impact of an innovative healthcare model on hypertension management and control in the country.
With the innovative healthcare model, the Novartis Foundation and its partners aim to improve the control of hypertension, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, by making services more accessible in the community while empowering individuals to manage their hypertension.
“We want to empower the whole community from patients to healthcare workers to local businesses to reduce the burden of hypertension, and – hopefully – to improve the healthcare system overall,” said Peter Lamptey, President Emeritus, FHI 360 and Professor of Non-communicable Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Carried out in a district close to an urban center in Ghana, the partners who include the Ghana Health Service and the University of Ghana indicated that ComHIP would shift the point where patients access healthcare from the hospital, which is often distant and crowded, to the community. Local businesses and healthcare workers based in the community will be trained to screen and care for hypertensive patients. Mobile devices and telemedicine will be used to support community nurses in decision making and ensuring seamless connection with community healthcare workers and physicians as needed.
In addition, text and voice messaging will be used for patient education to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease and to support adherence to therapy.
“We seek to build evidence on what type of healthcare delivery models and technologies are effective, and then adapt and apply them to help manage the overall dual burden of infectious and non-communicable diseases that low- and middle-income countries are facing,” said Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation.
Deaths from hypertension are estimated at 9.4 million people per year globally, which is equivalent to all infectious diseases combined. In Ghana, more than a quarter of the adult population in Ghana have been diagnosed with hypertension, but only 4% of these patients have their blood pressure under control.