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Nigeria, 11 others benefit from WHO initiative on heart attack, stroke


Regular high blood pressure screening is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Regular high blood pressure screening is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Nigeria and eleven other developing countries are first beneficiaries of a new initiative by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and partners, to beat back the global threat of cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack and stroke – the world’s leading causes of death.

The initiative, Global Hearts, was launched at the weekend on the margins of the 71st United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York, United States.

The WHO, yesterday, said the programme would be rolled out in Barbados, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Tajikistan, Thailand and Uganda, and would be open to all countries wishing to participate.

According to the WHO, more than 17 million people die yearly from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Many of these people have been exposed to unhealthy behaviours, including tobacco use, eating foods containing too much salt and inadequate physical activity. And many could be saved by better access to medical care for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and other conditions that raise the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Global Hearts is part of a new effort to scale up prevention and control of CVD, especially in developing countries. It is collaboration between WHO, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), and other partners, including the World Heart Federation, the World Stroke Organisation, the International Society of Hypertension, and the World Hypertension League.

The Global Hearts Initiative, which was launched over the weekend, comprised three technical packages:

SHAKE: a new set of evidence-backed policy options and examples, to support governments to lower salt consumption. If fully implemented in every country, SHAKE could save millions of lives per year.

HEARTS: This package gives countries the tools to incorporate cardiovascular disease management best practices at the primary health care level, to reduce cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.

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