By Doris Obinna
In line with its commitment to refocus attention and inspire action around health and wellbeing, Nigerian telecoms brand, 9mobile, recently held the second edition of its virtual health talk series, “Responding to the rising challenge of hypertension in a pandemic-depressed world.”
Facilitated by seasoned medical practitioner and health brand strategist, Dr. Juliet Offiah, the live session was packed with insights about the silent killer.
According to Offiah, most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because, sometimes, it has no warning signs or symptoms.
“Unfortunately, by the time they realize this, it may have caused significant damage.” While there are no known causes of hypertension, she explained that there are identifiable risk factors closely associated with the disease, which she classified into two: modifiable and non-modifiable factors.
“The modifiable risk factors are behavioral patterns within the control of an individual such as excessive consumption of alcohol, abuse of drugs, unhealthy lifestyle, etcetera. While non-modifiable factors are beyond the control of an individual, such as aging process, racial background, family history, etcetera.”
She explained that the condition could be effectively managed with the right medication and a change in lifestyle.
She identified some of the preventive measures as reduction in salt intake, consumption of more fruits and vegetables, avoiding the use of tobacco, reduction in alcohol consumption, limiting the intake of foods high in saturated fats and regular physical exercise.
She also went on to highlight the importance of cutting down on stress level, checking blood pressure readings regularly and observing a disciplined regimen of prescribed medications as helpful measures in managing hypertension.
“About 1.5 billion people suffer from hypertension globally, with 7.6 million deaths attributed to the medical condition. Sadly, Africa is the worst hit due to poverty, and a lack of adequate helpful information and access to quality healthcare.
“The onslaught of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is said to have also impacted on the numbers of emerging cases of hypertension across continents, as people battle with stress and their mental health and global and local medical health care resources remain largely focused disproportionately on containing COVID-19, with little attention paid to other medical conditions.”
In responding to the challenges highlighted, Offiah recommended the adoption of telemedicine, training and expansion of community health services and exploring partnerships that will help patients access information real-time.
“Telemedicine has come to stay; people should be able to have access to health services virtually, especially during this pandemic. It will help healthcare systems around the world a great deal to keep health records of patients. This way, we are able to keep track and retrieve data easily.
“For instance, USSD can be leveraged for check-ups and reminders. This is where 9mobile has continued to show impressive initiative in supporting the health sector,” she said.
Reiterating 9mobile’s commitment to the wellbeing of Nigerians, executive director, regulatory and corporate affairs, 9mobile, Abdulrahman Ado, said, “We decided to put the spotlight on the subject of hypertension because of the worrying trend we are beginning to see.
“At 9mobile, we will continue to drive initiatives that improve the quality of life of Nigerians through sensitization and collaborations, which informed our partnership with award-winning telemedicine provider MobihealthInternational, to enable more Nigerians access care virtually from the safety and comfort of their homes.”