Free blood pressure checks at State health facilities

WINDHOEK: Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Dr Norbert Forster has called on Windhoek residents to access State health facilities to have their blood pressure checked for free.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services on Tuesday officially launched a campaign which involves the conducting of free blood pressure screening as part of the commemoration of World Hypertension Day. The campaign kicked off on 16 May and will run until 31 June this year.

World Hypertension day was first celebrated on 14 May 2005, and is organised by World Hypertension League (WHL) to increase awareness about the condition.

Foster also urged private health facilities to participate in the campaign by screening all eligible clients that make use of their facilities during this period.

He also asked that all government ministries, agencies and offices allow their employees to have their blood pressure checked.

“Together we can do better to fight this silent killer,” he said.

Forster said in 2011, about 16 541 new cases of hypertension were recorded.

The Khomas Region recorded the highest number of new cases in 2011 at 3 963. This number increased to 6 041 new cases in 2012.

“This clearly reveals that people living in the city of Windhoek need to seriously strive to improve their lifestyle as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Forster explained that hypertension is a silent killer as it does not have any clear symptoms.

Namibia recorded a worrying 19 541 new cases of people with high blood pressure or hypertension in 2012.

A total of 263 deaths from the same cause were recorded just in State hospitals alone during the same year.

Approximately 1 8 billion people suffer from hypertension globally.

“The most unfortunate aspect of it is that 50 per cent of them are totally unaware of their condition and some of them who are aware of their condition do not take any medical action for their blood pressure,” Forster said.