Close to 100,000 persons die every year from complications related to hypertension, Ministry of Health has revealed.
One of the contributing factors, Ministry of Health Director of Medical Services Dr Jackson Kioko said, is that half of Kenyans have never been screened for pressure.
"That is why we are working to ensure that screening of blood pressure and diabetes is done at primary health care service providers (health centres)," he said.
According to the 2018 Health Sector Performance Review Report for 2016/2017, hypertension is the leading Non Communicable Disease (NCD) diagnosed detected during outpatient visits. This contributes to 50 per cent of total hospital admissions and over 40 per cent of facility mortality.
An example is in Nairobi County where county's NCD department report for March 2018 showed hypertension as the leading disease as of December 2017 with 24,025 cases, followed by diabetes (9,915) and asthma (6,481) detected from July 2017.
"The numbers of new hypertension cases reported in Outpatient departments (OPD) were three times the number reported for Diabetes and 10 times the number of new mental disorder cases reported in OPD," the report read in part.
It added: "Hypertension cases were on the rise in Kenya in 2016/17 as compared to 2013/14, from close to 1500 per 100,000 populations, to over 2,000," the report read in part.
While counties of Turkana, West Pokot, Mandera, Samburu and Wajir counties recorded a lower rate
Muranga, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Lamu and Makueni recorded a higher rate on new cases of hypertension.
"One of the biggest burden with hypertension is those who have it have no idea, and so if you do not know you are seek you are unlikely to seek treatment," said Prof Elijah Ogola, a Cardiologist with the University of Nairobi.
Ogola noted that hypertension does not have distinct symptoms like malaria or pneumonia which are associated with fever and headaches, and people only find themselves diagnosed with the disease when they go for other checkups.
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