A British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biologics company, AstraZeneca says it’s committed to addressing the hypertension burden in Africa, where less than 10 percent of the 80 million patients have access to treatment by supporting the development of “HEALTHY HEART AFRICA”.
HEALTHY HEART AFRICA is AstraZeneca’s access programme aimed at tackling the burden of hypertension and reducing cardiovascular related deaths with a goal to reach 10 million patients across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.
To mark this year’s World Hypertension Day, AstraZeneca and its partners are pleased to share that since the launch of the programme, there has been an increase in screening centres and affordable treatments across Kenya and the company is determined to expand the programme beyond borders.
Area Vice President, AstraZeneca Middle East and Africa, Tarek Rabah emphasised that; “The prevalence of hypertension in Africa is the highest in the world, yet it is preventable, relatively easy to diagnose and treatable.
“With HEALTHY HEART AFRICA, we aim to strengthen healthcare capabilities to provide life-long care for patients living with hypertension. Through our unwavering efforts with our partners to improve education, raise awareness and increase access, we are confident that we have the right model to address the world’s largest silent killer.”
Strengthening health care system
Designed in consultation with international and community-based organizations, health experts and governments, HEALTHY HEART AFRICA is a flexible approach that can be adapted to strengthen and broaden healthcare systems across Africa.
As a result, AstraZeneca has identified and established new entry points to address other communicable and non-communicable diseases such as HIV, cancer and diabetes.
HEALTHY HEART AFRICA is structured across three key pillars:
- Education and Awareness – Increase awareness of risk factors associated with hypertension such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Enhance prevention by increasing screening services and treatment facilities in accessible areas such as churches, marketplaces and workplaces.
- Training and Guidelines – Develop and provide educational materials and training support for health and community care workers to ensure improved knowledge and consistent levels of quality and care. Specifically, a focus on seeking solutions to the challenges that arise in keeping patients adherent to treatments in the long term in under-resourced settings.
- Access and Affordability – Establish and strengthen innovative health systems through integration to existing platforms to ensure comprehensive screening services and a range of hypertension medication at reduced prices.
Since the launch of HEALTHY HEART AFRICA in Kenya in October 2014, AstraZeneca and the partners have:
- Supported development of a treatment protocol to define and treat hypertension at the primary care level and in complex settings.
- Screened more than one million people and have identified 150,000 people living with this condition
- Trained more than 3,000 healthcare workers to provide proper screening and treatment services
- Activated 403 health facilities to provide hypertension services.
Supporting the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) “25 by 25” NCD Global Monitoring Framework to prevent and control non-communicable diseases, AstraZeneca’s aspiration is to ensure that patients across Africa with hypertension are receiving quality treatments to manage their condition.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases.
AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.