1. what is the challenge?

The WHO has been putting increased focus towards noncommunicable disease (NCD) care in developing countries, which includes cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Prevention of NCD is an important part of Medcan’s health assessment in Toronto, therefore working on this issue in Kenya is a major goal of the Naweza initiative.

2. What did we find?

Information on prevalence of these diseases was unclear in the research, but we found that indicators for NCD such as hypertension and high blood glucose were more common in this population than expected. For example, we saw many cases of untreated or poorly managed hypertension, including multiple patients with a systolic blood pressure in the 200s.

3. What HAVE WE DONE SO FAR?

Diagnosing hypertension and high blood glucose are relatively easy and cheap, especially when you compare the cost to end-stage interventions for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Both clinics had the appropriate resources and training to diagnose these conditions, so we focused on training on how to treat these conditions. Based on these training sessions and other documentation from the WHO on managing CVD risk, a program is being developed to do regular screening of the population for hypertension and blood glucose and provide effective lifestyle modification advice and/or medication to the most at-risk populations. The goal is to collect data and see a reduction in hypertension and blood glucose levels in these at-risk groups, and eventually a lower overall rate of cardiovascular events.