Tackling Hypertension in Rwanda

June 2, 2021- Hypertension, a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, has become a public health problem in Rwanda, especially among urban communities. Stroke and ischemic heart disease are now the number three and five causes of death in Rwanda, respectively. The prevalence of hypertension in Rwanda is estimated to be about 15% of the 12 million Rwandans. Most people with hypertension are unscreened and do not know their hypertension status. Societal change exacerbates the problem in urban cities such as the capital of Kigali where fast food and easier transportation have contributed to the rising prevalence of hypertension in these urban areas.

Alliance for Healthy Communities (AHC), is a Rwandan non-governmental organization working to fill critical gaps in health services while addressing the root causes of Sub-Saharan Africa’s quality health workforce shortage through capacity building, evaluation, and collaborative partnerships. AHC’s main programs include clinical programs for HIV/AIDS, community outreach for voluntary medical male circumcision, service delivery to remote populations, and capacity building through lab and informational technology infrastructure improvement.

Our GH 744 Program Design Team, Alivia Perrone, Abrar Abumansour, Derek Duong, Matt Kirk and Sue Kulkarni worked with AHC to design a program focused on community education, screening, and provider education for hypertension in Kigali, Rwanda.  The package of interventions in this program is intended to increase awareness about hypertension and knowledge of treatment options and ultimately to reduce premature morbidity and mortality related to high blood pressure.