Assessment of a hypertension screening and education intervention in Charlestown, Guyana
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BACKGROUND: Hypertension is the leading cause of mortality among Guyanese between the ages of 45 and 64 years and is inversely related to wealth and education. This pilot study aims to determine 1) the feasibility of a pharmacy-based clinic, 2) the prevalence of elevated blood pressure and 3) the outcome of follow-up of those with elevated blood pressure. METHODS: Participants were recruited based on a convenience sample. Adults with or without a previous diagnosis of hypertension were included. Screening, education and patient counselling were provided. Participants with elevated blood pressure readings were contacted 1 month after the initial visit for a follow-up. RESULTS: Twenty-two subjects between the ages of 27 and 78 years participated: 32% (7 of 22) were found to have elevated blood pressure readings, and 71% (5 of 7) of those with high blood pressure readings visited a physician within 1 month of the screening. Of those prescribed antihypertensive medications, 71% (5 of 7) reported low adherence to their medication. CONCLUSION: The methods developed in this study advanced knowledge on the effective management of hypertension in a developing country. One-third of participants were found to have elevated blood pressure. Among those with elevated blood pressure, most followed up with a physician and were diagnosed with hypertension. Pharmacists and pharmacies can play a pivotal role in providing education and improving drug therapy adherence. The need for pharmacy interventions is heightened in areas where access to physicians is scarce. This pilot study illustrates that a pharmacy-based screening and education intervention is indeed feasible.
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