High rates of undiagnosed and uncontrolled hypertension upon a screening campaign in rural Rwanda: a cross-sectional study

Evariste Ntaganda, Regine Mugeni, Emmanuel Harerimana, Gedeon Ngoga, Symaque Dusabeyezu, Francois Uwinkindi, Jean N. Utumatwishima, Eugene Mutimura, Victor G. Davila-Roman, Kenneth Schechtman, Aurore Nishimwe, Laurence Twizeyimana, Angela L. Brown, W. Todd Cade, Marcus Bushaku, Lisa de Las Fuentes, Dominic Reeds, Marc Twagirumukiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Hypertension remains the major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) worldwide with a prevalence and mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) among the highest. The early detection of hypertension risk factors is a crucial pillar for CVD prevention. Design and method: This cross-sectional study included 4284 subjects, mean age 46 ± 16SD, 56.4% females and mean BMI 26.6 ± 3.7 SD. Data were collected through a screening campaign in rural area of Kirehe District, Eastern of Rwanda, with the objective to characterize and examine the prevalence of elevated blood pressure (BP) and other CVD risk factors. An adapted tool from the World Health Organization STEPwise Approach was used for data collection. Elevated BP was defined as ≥ 140/90 mm/Hg and elevated blood glucose as blood glucose ≥ 100 mg/dL after a 6-h fast. Results: Of the sampled population, 21.2% (n = 910) had an elevated BP at screening; BP was elevated among individuals not previously known to have HTN in 18.7% (n = 752). Among individuals with a prior diagnosis of HTN, 62.2% (n = 158 of 254) BP was uncontrolled. Age, weight, smoking, alcohol history and waist circumference were associated with BP in both univariate analyses and multivariate analysis. Conclusion: High rates of elevated BP identified through a health screening campaign in this Rwandan district were surprising given the rural characteristics of the district and relatively low population age. These data highlight the need to implement an adequate strategy for the prevention, diagnosis, and control of HTN that includes rural areas of Rwanda as part of a multicomponent strategy for CVD prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number197
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Rwanda
  • Screening


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