Cardiovascular diseases in sub-Saharan

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes greatly reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks. However, high quality CVD prevention care is neither available nor affordable for most people in SSA. The Kwara State Health Insurance program provides insurance for low-income groups in rural Nigeria. CVD prevention care was implemented following international guidelines in one of its participating health facilities. The project “QUality Improvement Cardiovascular Care Kwara” evaluated its quality of care and assessed its financial feasibility from a healthcare provider perspective. We followed a cohort of 349 insured patients who were treated for CVD risk factors in the study clinic. Quality of care one year later was high, comparable to quality of care in primary care settings in high-income countries. However, guideline implementation was resource intensive in terms of training, staff, and equipment requirements, and relatively costly. Therefore, simplified, low-cost treatment protocols for cardiovascular risk factors are urgently needed to allow rapid scale-up of services in SSA.

Please click here to read the editorial of the current issue of the Journal of Hypertension that discusses the article Feasibility and quality of cardiovascular disease prevention within a community-based health insurance program in rural Nigeria: an operational cohort study (view article).