Some 20,000 Jamaicans are set to receive blood pressure screening through the National Health Fund (NHF) on May 17 in recognition of World Hypertension Day and as part of the observations to commemorate its 20th anniversary.
World Hypertension Day is a global initiative aimed at raising awareness about hypertension and its health implications. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is often termed a silent killer that affects millions of people worldwide.
The screenings are aimed at helping persons to be aware of their blood pressure numbers and focus more attention on hypertension and its impact on health and well-being.
“Knowing your blood pressure is important because hypertension is often called the ‘silent killer’ since it may have no symptoms but can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease,” said Everton Anderson, CEO of the National Health Fund.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and over one billion people worldwide have hypertension. Here in Jamaica, hypertension affects approximately 25 per cent of the population.
The condition has the highest number of enrolments under the NHF Card programme, with more than 432,000 persons registered.
The fund is renewing its commitment to promoting access to quality healthcare for all Jamaicans, and the blood pressure screening initiative is one of the ways in which the NHF is fulfilling its mandate.
“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are proud to continue our tradition of serving the Jamaican people and making a positive impact on their health and well-being,” added Anderson.
The NHF is encouraging everyone to know their blood pressure status and take steps to prevent and manage hypertension. This includes maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, reducing salt intake, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.
Among the many locations where screenings will be done are the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre, Shoppers Fair Supermarket, Beckford Plaza, Savanna-la-Mar, Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay and Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville.
The NHF is collaborating with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Medical Association of Jamaica, non-governmental organisations, and churches to carry out the blood pressure screenings, which will also take place at select Drug Serv pharmacies and clinics islandwide.