World Hypertension Day

May 17, 2024: “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer” The important World Hypertension Day was first held on 14 May 2005, and has since become an ever-expanding yearly event.

This brief provides an update on high-impact hypertension-related research in Nigeria supported by Washington University.

theme of World Hypertension day observed on May 17 every year. also known as high blood pressure HBP.

Hypertension, also known as raised blood pressure, affects more than 1.3 billion adults worldwide and is known as a “silent killer”. It is common, but not inevitable.

Washington University in St. Louis researchers are working to prevent the development of hypertension in a variety of global settings through projects working at individual, organizational, and policy levels.

Several projects are ongoing in Nigeria thanks to a longstanding partnership between Drs. Dike Ojji and Godwin Akaba from University of Abuja and Drs. Mark Huffman and Victor Dávila-Román from WashU. One is focused on improving heart and brain health of pregnant women and their families by promoting healthy behaviors, while another seeks to inform the implementation of national food policies that make it easier for people to follow low-sodium diets, which reduces their risk of developing hypertension.  

This research team has also studied how to integrate clinical services for diagnosis, treatment, and control of hypertension in primary care among more than 21,000 patients in Nigeria where hypertension control rates have increased notably (from 23% to 56%) in four years. Efforts to scale-up hypertension services in primary care nationwide will continue.

To complement this work and enhance its sustainability, Drs. Huffman and Ojji lead a cardiovascular research training program in collaboration with Dr. Lisa Hirschhorn from Northwestern University. Through this program, the next generation of research leaders and clinicians in Nigeria are learning to prevent, diagnose, treat, and control hypertension.

A population of increasing concern for hypertension and cardiovascular disease are people living with HIV. People with HIV are actually more likely than the HIV-negative population to have hypertension, more likely to have a cardiovascular event, and have a higher risk of mortality overall. The MAP-IT research project, also led by Dr. Ojji, is evaluating the effectiveness of a certain quality improvement strategy for hypertension control into primary health centers serving people living with HIV. This project is part of a multi-country initiative known as HLB-SIMPLe (WashU leads the HLB-SIMPLe Research Coordinating Center).

Together, these endeavors reflect a robust commitment to reducing the global burden of hypertension through research, education, and policy communication. By fostering international collaborations and developing sustainable healthcare solutions, WashU and our partners are paving the way for a healthier future for millions around the world.

Nigeria Sodium Study multisectoral stakeholder workshop in Abuja, Nigeria in April 2024.
Hypertension Treatment in Nigeria multisectoral stakeholder workshop in Abuja, Nigeria in April 2024.
Cardiovascular Research Training in Nigeria (CeRTIN) mentor workshop training in Abuja, Nigeria in April 2024.

Funding: R01HL168771, UH3HL152381, R01HL144708, D43TW011976, UH3-HL-154498