Business Reporter: Why Expanding Access to Healthcare Is Key to Tackling Hypertension in Africa

Business Reporter: Why Expanding Access to Healthcare Is Key to Tackling Hypertension in Africa

PR Newswire

LONDON, July 6, 2020

LONDON, July 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Sustainability is about more than just responsible environmental policy. A functioning society is also hugely dependent on the health of its population, yet 41 million people are still dying annually from preventable non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, respiratory conditions and cancer.i

These are conditions normally associated with wealthier countries, but in low- and middle-income countries, where patients have less access to healthcare services, NCDs affect four out of five people.ii

In an article and accompanying video in Business Reporter, Ashling Mulvaney, Head of Access to Healthcare, Global Sustainability, at AstraZeneca, describes how the pharmaceutical company has connected its global business targets to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening healthcare capabilities and infrastructure to facilitate access to healthcare in developing and emerging countries.iii

The initiative has been a success – through public-private partnerships it has reached more than 19 million people, activated 2,600 health facilities, and trained more than 81,000 healthcare workers.iii

Healthy Heart Africa is a programme at the heart of this ambition, with the aim of sustainably improving access to hypertension care by increasing education and awareness around lifestyle choice and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD); training healthcare providers and driving care to lower levels of the healthcare system.iii,iv

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in sub-Saharan Africa, where 150 million adults are expected to have the condition by 2025.v A strong local focus is essential to tackle this worrying trend and, in the past five years since inception, HHA has worked with local partners in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda to strengthen the provision of services for managing and preventing hypertension, including raising awareness and education of lifestyle risk factors for CVD.iii,iv

But more work needs to be done. Access to healthcare is a basic human right and reducing the huge growing burden of these diseases is a major public health concern, requiring ground-level work in countries with less developed healthcare systems to address the prevention, awareness and diagnosis of hypertension, as well as the education and training of health workers, in a sustainable way.

To find out more about AstraZeneca's work in access to healthcare and Healthy Heart Africa, you can read more and watch the video here.

About Business Reporter

Business Reporter is distributed with The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and City AM, with each publication reaching an average of 1.5 million people.

Content is also published through the Business Reporter and teiss websites, which include video debates, online articles and digital magazines, delivering news and analysis on the issues affecting businesses to a global audience.

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Business Reporter is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and was the first UK member of the UN SDG Media Compact. We have launched a website dedicated to showcasing the work of companies towards these goals at

Business Reporter is committed to providing meaningful analysis to everyone in business. Whether you're running a small business, the head of a local company or an executive in a multinational corporation, there's something for you at Business Reporter.

About Healthy Heart Africa

Developed by AstraZeneca and implemented across Africa in collaboration with African Governments and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Healthy Heart Africa (HHA) is designed to contribute to the prevention and control of hypertension and decreasing the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across Africa. Currently present in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda, the programme supports sustainable models by working with local health systems. Each model works independently with partners in the country of implementation to address different health challenges and health environments, with the aim of providing a sustainable means of fighting hypertension in Africa.


i)  World Health Organization. Noncommunicable diseases. Available at Last accessed June 2020

ii)  NCD Alliance. NCDs. Available at: Last accessed June 2020

iii)  AstraZeneca Sustainability Report 2019. Access to Healthcare. Available at: Last accessed June 2020

iv)  Healthy Heart Africa. Available at: Last accessed June 2020

v)  Van de Vijver S, Akinyi H, Oti S, et al. Status report on hypertension in Africa: Consultative review for the 6th Session of the African Union Conference of Ministers of Health on NCDs. Pan African Med J. 2013;16:38. Available at: Last accessed June 2020

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