As Dr. Wafula Nalwa, cardiology lecturer at Maseno university and and also one of the most renown doctors in Kisumu likes to put it; hypertension is a deadly silent disease. Most research results of recent times have indicated that a huge percentage of the worlds population have undiagnosed hypertension. In Kenya alone this figure goes to highs of above 50% of all cases.
The May measurement month is a global program started in 2017 by the international society of hypertension and has been running in conjunction with the world hypertension day. The organisation is focused on reducing the huge burden that is undiagnosed hypertension both on society and healthcare and on individuals themselves.
In colaboration with the ministry of health and the cardiac society of Kenya, a team lead by the only heart specialist in town, Dr. Wafula Nalwa, has taken the battle against hypertension to the streets of Kisumu. Their campaign has been ongoing for now two weeks. There are about 13 young men and women whose main role has been taking blood pressures of all the willing residents of Kisumu and charting their anonymous details on an app called the May measure. Details include: earlier diagnosis of hypertension, smoking and alcohol use, weight and height etc. The team handles an average of 500 clients per day.
According to the team leaders; Frank and Nelly Maiba, the program has been a total success and is of great importance to the community. “I have personally screened more than 200 people and of those close to 100 recorded high BPs which they had no idea of,” Nelly reported to theDoctor. The team works tirelessly from 9.00 AM to 6.30 PM before the are released and payed for the day by Dr. Wafula. As they spoke to theDoctor, their passion for a hypertension free society was clear. “Those we find with high blood pressures are referred to Dr. Wafula’s office at Optimum hospital in Tom Mboya,” Frank told theDoctor.
There are also plenty of May measurement Month issued fliers that are given to clients as they are educated deeply on the prevention of hypertension and healthy living. it takes the Nurses about 5 minutes per patient. A serial of 3 BP mesurements are made and fed into the app. The counseling session is very educative as the team have all the knowledge at their finger tips.
Speaking to one of the patients who asked to remain anonymous, she said that she was told by her doctor that she had been hypertensive for a very long time without knowing it until she had her blood pressure taken by a community health worker who then referred her to the hospital. She further complemented the program saying that it would go a long way in helping those living with the silent killer disease.
The program is still ongoing at two strategic locations in the lakeside town: Tumaini supermarket in Milimani- Nyalenda and the United Mall just in front of Turkeys supermarket. All services are free. We do encourage that the news of this amazing community project be spread and everybody gets their blood pressure measured. “pamoja tumalize pressure.”
Big thanks to the team working tirelessly, Dr. Wafula Nalwa, the cardiac Society of Kenya and the May Measurement Month.
By Nyadimu Festo