Hypertension, the most important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, disproportionately affects populations in Sub-Saharan Africa where health systems are ill-prepared to grapple with the double burden of communicable and Non-Communicable diseases. There is evidence that prevention and early diagnosis and treatment are powerful weapons in the fight against hypertension. As part of its 2015 World Hypertension Day activities, the Health for Life Foundation set out to determine the prevalence and correlates of raised blood pressure among market vendors in Yaoundé.Design and Method:
This was a community-based cross-sectional study which took place from 25-28 May, 2015 at the Acacias market in Yaoundé. Consenting vendors were asked to rest for 10 minutes before measurements were taken on the left arm placed on a table. Blood pressure was measured using an automated BP measuring device using appropriate sized cuffs. Three measurements were taken at 3-minute intervals and the mean of the last two measurements recorded. Participants’ age and sex were also recorded. Hypertension defined as systolic (and/or diastolic) blood pressure (BP)≥ 140 (90) mmHg, or ongoing BP lowering medications.Results:
A total of 1085 people (63.87% female) had their BP measured. Over half (62.3%) of them were older than 40 years and 43.1% had not had their blood pressure measured in the 12-month period leading up to the study. The prevalence of systolic and diastolic BP was 20.2% and 19.5% respectively. Among those who reported no previous hypertension screening, prevalence of systolic and diastolic BP was 12.7 and 16.2% respectively.Conclusions:
Prevalence of hypertension is high in this population but awareness level is low. Without appropriate screening and education interventions, these people, usually breadwinners for their families, risk developing complications with deleterious effects for themselves and for their families.