Hypertension is a global public health issue and it contributes significantly to cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, premature deaths and disabilities. Due to the increase in the burden of hypertension in Ghana, and the visible impact on cardiovascular disease, the Government of Ghana, through the joint effort of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the Ghana Health Service (GHS), and the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL), decided to collect specialised data on blood pressure in the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS). This data, which is the first of its kind in the history of population and health surveys in Ghana, focus on monitoring the hypertension status of Ghanaians. 

My colleagues and I carried out a study that examined the rates and determinants of hypertension prevalence, awareness, treatment and control among Ghanaian’s aged 15-49 years. We found that hypertension prevalence was 13.0%. Among respondents who had hypertension, 45.6% were aware of their hypertension status; 40.5% were treating the condition while 23.8% had their blood pressure controlled (BP <140/90 mmHg). Socio-economic and demographic factors (such as age, marital status, wealth status, place and region of residence), health insurance and a recent visit to health facilities were associated with hypertension prevalence and awareness.  While region of residence and recent health facility visit predicted hypertension treatment, age and region of residence predicted hypertension control. This paper suggests that the burden of hypertension in Ghana can be partly addressed by expanding the National Health Insurance Scheme and putting mechanisms in place to reduce health inequalities in the country.

The full open access article can be found here at PLOS ONE.





About Oluwatobi Sanuade

Olutobi is currently a Research Associate at UCL. As part of the Wellcome Trust-funded project at UCL, Olutobi will be researching the history of chronic and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Ghana, including their interaction with infectious disease and their relationship to socio-economic status and demographic factors. Building on his earlier work, he will engage with health professionals, policy makers, people living with NCDs (and their caregivers) and lay individuals to determine how they make sense of chronic NCDs.