High blood pressure and other NCDs leading cause of deaths in Nigeria.
Hypertension is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Nigeria and the number one cause of death.

According to the latest statistics by World Health Organisation (WHO) out of 57 million annual deaths worldwide, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) contribute to an estimated 36 million, including 14 million dying between the ages of 30 to 70.

During the recent Pfizer cardiovascular summit in Lagos, Professor Sam Dagogo-Jack, a prominent endocrinologist at the University of Tennessee Health Centre, Memphis, USA, said that Nigeria needs to “separate fact from fiction when dealing with issues surrounding CV disorders,” which continue to grab bigger and bigger shares of the global burden of disease (from 43% to 54% over a 20-year period). He also called for a nation-wide epidemiological mapping of NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, kidney failure, arthritis, among others, and national programmes that will encourage physical activities like walking and sports.

Oladapo Akinkugbe, Pfizer Cardiovascular Scientific Advisory Board chairman, noted that “less than a third of Nigerians who are hypertensive are aware of their status.” He said that “adequate detection is extremely important. It is not just going to the teaching hospital and checking blood pressure, but you have to go round the country, to the rural areas. That was what we tried to do 20 years ago. We went round the country to see 20,000 persons selected from rural, semi urban areas and we had a map of hypertension, diabetes. But the parameters today have changed. We use 160/95mmHg for hypertension mapping and we found that four million Nigerians were hypertensive.”

Other NCDs such as diabetes, lung diseases, renal failures, cancer, and mental health problems, are also major causes of death in the country, and a huge public health concern dominating health care needs and expenditure particularly, because anti-hypertensive drugs are expensive in a country where millions live on less than a dollar a day.

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