The prevalence, awareness and control of hypertension among workers in West Africa:a systematic review

Bosu, William (2015) The prevalence, awareness and control of hypertension among workers in West Africa:a systematic review. Global Health Action, 8 (1). ISSN 1654-9716

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Background Interventions in workplace settings are considered to be cost-effective in preventing cardiovascular diseases. A systematic review was conducted to assess the prevalence of hypertension and the level of awareness and control among workers in West Africa. Design A systematic search for studies on formal and informal sector workers aged ≥15 years in West Africa published between 1980 and September 2014 was undertaken using the Ovid Medline, Embase, PubMed, and Google Scholar databases. Clinical and obstetric studies and studies that did not report prevalence were excluded. Data on study settings, characteristics of workers, blood pressure (BP) levels, prevalence of hypertension, and associated demographic factors were extracted. Results A total of 45 studies from six countries were identified involving 30,727 formal and informal sector workers. In 40 studies with a common definition of hypertension, the prevalence ranged from 12.0% among automobile garage workers to 68.9% among traditional chiefs. In 15 of these studies, the prevalence exceeded 30%. Typically sedentary workers such as traders, bank workers, civil servants, and chiefs were at high risk. Among health care workers, the prevalence ranged from 17.5 to 37.5%. The prevalence increased with age and was higher among males and workers with higher socio-economic status. Complications of hypertension, co-morbidities, and clustering of risk factors were common. The crude prevalence of hypertension increased progressively from 12.9% in studies published in the 1980s to 34.4% in those published in 2010–2014. The proportion of hypertensives who were previously aware of their diagnosis, were on treatment or had their BP controlled was 19.6–84.0%, 0–79.2%, and 0–12.7%, respectively. Hypertensive subjects, including health workers, rarely checked their BP except when they were ill. Conclusions There is a high prevalence of hypertension among West Africa's workforce, of which a significant proportion is undiagnosed, severe or complicated. The clustering of risk factors, co-morbidities, and general low awareness warrant an integrated and multisectoral approach. Models for workplace health programmes aiming to improve cardiovascular health should be extended to informal sector workers.

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Journal Article
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Global Health Action
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05 Mar 2019 11:50
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16 Feb 2021 08:28