NIMR tackles hypertension in HIV patients

The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has instituted a research work that would help reduce the burden of high blood pressure on people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director-General of NIMR, made this known on Tuesday during the donation of diagnostic and screening equipment to 30 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) in Lagos.

Salako said that research had shown that non-communicable diseases including  hypertension, diabetes and others have increased mortality and morbidity among people living with HIV.

He said: “We are looking at training nurses in the PHCs in Lagos on how to control high blood pressure among people living with HIV as part of our research work.

“High blood pressure has been shown to increase sickness and death apart from the HIV itself, among people living with the virus.

“HIV patients are living longer now because drugs available in recent time have been successful, while the government and NGOs are making the drugs available for them.

“These people are now dying due to other things that include high blood pressure and that is why this research is about reducing the burden of high blood pressure most especially on them.”

The D-G said that the research work was in partnership with a New York University, Saint Louis University.

Speaking earlier, Prof. Ezechie Oliver, the Principal Investigator of the project, said the purpose of the research was to integrate management of hypertension with HIV care.

“Instead of dying from AIDs, people living with HIV are now dying from non-communicable diseases.

“What we are doing with this project is to integrate hypertension care into HIV treatment services,” he said.

Also, Mr Naco Ezieme, the founder of Positive Life Organisation of Nigeria (PLON) described the project as a timely intervention for people living with HIV.

Ezieme noted that many HIV patients were coming down with non-communicable diseases which was becoming very worrisome.

“This research is coming at the right time with the increase in the number of people living with HIV alongside blood pressure and diabetes.

“This is a commendable step by NIMR and I hope they will come out with a positive result on how best to manage situations like this,” he said.

Dr Ibrahim Akinwunmi, Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Health Care Board, while receiving the medical equipment, thanked  the institute for its contribution to the PHCs.

Akinwunmi said the project would be incorporated in all the PHCs within the state.

The News Agency of NIgeria (NAN) reports that 60 blood pressure monitors, 30 lipid meters, 30 glucometers, 30 weighing scales, among others, were donated to the primary health centres. (NAN)