Healthy Heart Africa Making Strides to Tackle Hypertension Across Kenya

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The Healthy Heart Africa programme, an innovative approach to tackling hypertension in Africa, marks one year of successful implementation.

Karl Friberg, Vice President, Healthy Heart Africa and President, AstraZeneca South Africa & Sub Saharan Africa

Karl Friberg, Vice President, Healthy Heart Africa and President, AstraZeneca South Africa & Sub Saharan Africa

We have learned so much about how to reach a significant percentage of low and middle-income Kenyans living with hypertension

Since the launch of Healthy Heart Africa’s demonstration programme in Kenya in October 2014, AstraZeneca and its implementing partners have achieved significant results in increasing awareness on the disease and raising the number of screenings across the country, where 46% of adults have raised blood pressure1.

Working with our partners and with the Ministry of Health, we are committed to raise awareness on a constant basis about what hypertension is, how it can be treated, and how it can be prevented.


In just one year AstraZeneca’s Healthy Heart Africa has achieved milestones such as:

  • Trained over 2,600 healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, community health volunteers and pharmacists to provide education and awareness, screening and treatment services for hypertension across 21 counties
  • Activated 250 health facilities to provide hypertension services, including the establishment of secure supply chains for low-cost, high-quality antihypertensive medicines
  • Developed a hypertension treatment protocol to define the appropriate approach to hypertension care both at the primary care level and in more complex settings working with the Ministry of Health and Key Scientific Societies in Kenya
  • Created training materials for health care providers and community health workers on hypertension prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment
  • and by the end of the 2015 we forecast that we will have screened over 1 million patients

Dr Joseph Kibachio, Head of Division of Non Communicable Diseases. Ministry of Health, commented: “We are happy to celebrate the important milestones achieved in Kenya by Healthy Heart Africa, AstraZeneca’s programme addressing hypertension, an urgent area of unmet medical need. We especially appreciate AstraZeneca’s approach to partnership in order to design and implement a leading programme that is integrated into healthcare platforms. We look forward to continuing to partner with AstraZeneca and our implementing partners across Kenya to make sustainable progress in addressing the burden of hypertension in the next months and in the long term.”

Karl Friberg, Vice President, Healthy Heart Africa, said: “Healthy Heart Africa is off to a strong start in Kenya. We have learned so much about how to reach a significant percentage of low and middle-income Kenyans living with hypertension. We are particularly excited about the data being collected – we believe that this will help other stakeholders understand more about the burden of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in Kenya, and how to address it.”

From February to May 2015, AstraZeneca partnered with Abt Associates to conduct an independent baseline survey of Kenyan households and facilities to assess the current state of hypertension awareness and treatment across the areas participating in Healthy Heart Africa4.

Abt Associates interviewed 2,937 people (18 and older) in 1,560 households where the programme is now running.

Although 87% of survey respondents indicated that they had heard of hypertension, levels of knowledge around risk factors and health risks associated with hypertension are low, particularly among rural and lower income populations.

The data collected also indicate a clear need to increase substantive knowledge about the condition and its potential health consequences not only among the general population but furthermore among providers.

Monitoring and reporting is a strategic element of Healthy Heart Africa. In fact, at the conclusion of the 18-month demonstration phase, an end-line survey will be conducted to determine the effect of interventions on hypertension awareness and treatment.


Healthy Heart Africa ambition is to reach 10 million hypertensive patients across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Healthy Heart Africa is built on three key pillars:

Education and Awareness – Conducting campaign and awareness-raising activities that will encourage people to seek screening and diagnosis when needed.

Training and Guidelines – Building healthcare workers’ capacity to provide comprehensive and appropriate hypertension care, based on guidelines developed in collaboration with professional societies and the Kenyan Ministry of Health.

Access and Affordability – Strengthening the supply chain for antihypertensive medicines and ensuring patients can access affordable, high-quality care.

Together with seven partners – AMPATH, AMREF Health Kenya, the Christian Health Association of Kenya, Jhpiego, Population Services Kenya, Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS) and Abt Associates – AstraZeneca is testing the implementation of these components through five demonstration projects in Kenya. The 18-month projects focus on integrating hypertension care into existing health platforms, with the goal of scaling successful models across Kenya in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

Karl Friberg, Vice President, Healthy Heart Africa, said: “Our partners at the Ministry and the NGOs are what make Healthy Heart Africa different. It is only because of our partnerships that we have achieved a remarkable amount of progress in such a short time-frame. Healthy Heart Africa is focused on putting the patient at the heart of what we do”.

Dr. Meshack Ndirangu, Amref Health Africa Country Director, said: “Amref Health Africa in Kenya is committed to prioritising NCDs, especially hypertension, as they are part of the unmet medical need amongst Kenyans. This is in spite of NCDs being the emerging cause of high mortality and disability in Kenya. Our partnership with AstraZeneca and the Kenyan Ministry of Health through the Healthy Heart Africa programme has enabled us to integrate hypertension screening and treatments into our existing projects. We have also been able to develop effective models to deliver hypertension services in low resource settings such as Kibera settlement in Nairobi. Finally, we are building the capacity of healthcare workers, community health Volunteers and county health teams to effectively address NCDs in some of Nairobi’s most disadvantaged areas.”

AstraZeneca’s ambition through the programme is to ensure that patients across Africa with high blood pressure are on treatments which control their condition by 2025, supporting the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) ‘25 by 25’ global monitoring framework for preventing and controlling non- communicable diseases.

Media Enquiries
Valentina Saffioti    +971 526 700 089 (UAE/MEA Area)
Christine Amira     +254 717 076080 (Kenya)            


About Healthy Heart Africa
Healthy Heart Africa is AstraZeneca’s innovative project that aims to support local health systems by increasing awareness of the symptoms and risks of hypertension and by offering education, screening and reduced-cost treatment. For more information please visit:

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:

1 WHO. Global Health Observatory Data Repository on hypertension, available at Last accessed: October 2015.
2 AstraZeneca data on file: Healthy Heart Africa Partner Monthly Monitoring Reports
3 AstraZeneca data on file: Healthy Heart Africa Internal Programme Forecast
4 Data on file: AstraZeneca Healthy Heart Africa Programme: Findings from the Baseline Facility and
Household Surveys. Abt Associates. July 16, 2015.
5 WHO. Draft action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases 2013–2020. 66th World Health
Assembly Provisional Agenda item 13.2. Report by the Secretariat. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2013.

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