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Prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of hypertension in urban poor communities in Accra, Ghana

Awuah, Raphael B.a; Anarfi, John K.a; Agyemang, Charlesb; Ogedegbe, Gbengac; Aikins, Ama de-Grafta

doi: 10.1097/HJH.0000000000000165

Background: Hypertension is a major public health problem in many sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana, but data on urban poor communities are limited. The aim of this study was therefore to assess the prevalence, awareness, management and control of hypertension among a young adult population in their reproductive ages living in urban poor communities in Accra.

Methods: Cross-sectional, population-based survey of 714 young adults in their reproductive ages (women aged 15–49 years, men aged 15–59 years) living in three urban poor suburbs of Accra, Ghana.

Results: The overall prevalence of hypertension in all three communities was 28.3% (women 25.6% and men 31.0%). Among respondents who had hypertension, 7.4% were aware of their condition; 4% were on antihypertensive medication while only 3.5% of hypertensive individuals had adequate blood pressure (BP) control (BP <140/90 mmHg). The level of awareness and treatment was lower in men than in women (3.1 and 1.3% for men and 11.9 and 6.5% for women, respectively). Among individuals with hypertension, the rate of control was higher among women than among men (5.0 and 2.1%, respectively).

Conclusion: Although about a quarter of the young adult population in these low-income communities of Accra have hypertension, the levels of awareness, treatment and control are abysmally low. We recommend community-specific primary and secondary prevention interventions that draw on existing resources, specifically implementing cardiovascular disease (CVD) interventions in faith-based organizations and task-shifting CVD care through the national Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) programme.

aRegional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana

bDepartment of Public Health, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

cCenter for Healthful Behavior Change, Division of Health and Behavior, New York University School of Medicine and NYU Global Institute of Public Health, New York, New York, USA

Correspondence to Ama de-Graft Aikins, Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG 96 Legon, Accra, Ghana. Tel: +233 302 500 274; fax: +233 302 500 273; e-mail:

Abbreviations: AMA, Accra Metropolitan Assembly; BP, blood pressure; CHPS, Community-based Health Planning and Services; CVD, cardiovascular disease; IRB, Institutional Review Board

Received 21 January, 2014

Accepted 2 February, 2014

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins