Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk for Prevention and Control of Cardiovascular Disease in Ghana’s Northern Region A Cross-sectional Study of 4 Rural Districts using World Health Organization / International Society of Hypertension (WHO/ISH) Risk Prediction Charts

  •  Sandra M. Skerratt    
  •  Olivia G. Wilson    


Ghana is experiencing an increase in cardiovascular (CVD) -related mortality with poor rural communities suffering greater complications and premature deaths. The point of this exploratory research is to evaluate the prevalence of CVD risk factors and to calculate the cardiovascular risk among adults aged > 40 years in Ghana’s Northern Region. A cross-sectional study was performed with 536 subjects. A pre-tested questionnaire, anthropometric measurements, and standardized WHO/ISH risk prediction charts assessed for 10-year risk of a fatal or non-fatal major cardiovascular event according to age, sex, blood pressure, smoking status, and diabetes mellitus status. Low, moderate and high CVD prevalence risk in females was 88.4%, 7.1%, and 4.5% while in males the prevalence was 91.3%, 5.8%, and 2.9%, respectively. Hypertension was noted as a clinically significant risk factor with females at 37.3% versus males at 32%. The 10-year risk of a fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular event was statistically significant for females according to age group. A moderate to high CVD risk of a fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular event was found in 10.4% of subjects. Notable CVD risk factors included a high prevalence of hypertension. Decentralizing care to local village healthcare facilities is one way to tackle cardiovascular risk reduction. Task shifting of primary care duties from physicians to nurses in terms of cardiovascular (CV) risk assessment and management of uncomplicated CV risk factors is a potential solution to the acute shortage of trained health staffs for the control and prevention of CVD in Northern Ghana.

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