By Margaret Kalekye
Kenyans living with hypertension now have access to highly subsidised medication courtesy of a three year partnership between the Ministry of Health and AstraZeneca.
The partnership being rolled out through the Healthy Heart Africa Programme, has already taken root in 27 Counties enabling Kenyans to access the services.
More than 200 facilities in Bungoma, Busia, Embu, Homabay, Kajiado, Kakamega, Kericho, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kisumu, Kitui, Laikipia, Machakos, Makueni, Meru, Murang’a, Nairobi, Nakuru, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Siaya, Tharaka Nithi, Transzoia, Uasin Gishu and Vihiga Counties have benefited from the programme which is expected to cover the whole country.
Dr. Loise Nyanjau, the focal person in charge of cardiovascular diseases at the Ministry of Health , commended AstraZeneca for the role they have played in enhancing access to affordable hypertension drugs, adding that the programme will be scaled up across the country.
“We recognise that cardiovascular diseases are the second Non Communicable killer diseases after cancer. As a Ministry, we have prioritised these diseases in addition to tackling the Non Communicable Disease burden in the country. We have been looking for innovative ways of addressing this issue by raising awareness, increasing access to screening and initiating treatment,” she explained.
According to the STEPwise survey, cardiovascular illnesses and cancers are the leading causes of death after infectious diseases and are mostly due to the current lifestyle patterns.
Close to 10 percent of Kenyans aged between 40 and 69 years are said to have a cardiovascular disease risk of 30 percent or above. These Kenyans could develop cardiovascular diseases or die from a cardiovascular-related complication in the next 10 years if they do not seek treatment.
Information from Ministry of Health