Population-based study to determine prevalence of hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors in a rural region of Kenya

Document Type



Family Medicine (East Africa)


Background: Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death
in Africa. Hypertension, with a high prevalence in sub-Saharan
Africa, appears to be a major contributory factor. Little is known
about the prevalence of or risk factors for hypertension in rural areas
of sub-Saharan Africa. We propose to estimate the prevalence of
hypertension in adults in rural southern Kenya.
Methods: We will conduct the survey in Kaloleni district using
randomized two-stage cluster sampling. We will use the validated
WHO STEPwise approach to chronic disease questionnaire with
additional questions for non-traditional risk factors and collect base-
line blood pressure, basic demographic/anthropometric and spot
urine from 660 non-pregnant adults over the age of 20 years old.
Findings: Our research group conducted a preliminary assessment
of hypertension prevalence in the same district during a health fair
for a total of 740 residents. The prevalence of hypertension among
91 participants aged >18 years was high (31%). This current study
will report prevalence of hypertension and its traditional risk factors,
in addition to non-traditional risk factors such as kidney disease
from chronic Schistosomaisis infection, indoor smoke exposure, or
consumption of “miraa” (a plant-based stimulant). The data collec-
tion and analysis will take place November 2015.
Interpretation: Our study will provide epidemiological data crit-
ical for mapping and surveillance of hypertension and associated
cardiovascular risk factors crucial for curbing the cardiovascular
disease pandemic that is emerging in rural Kenya and other parts
of East Africa. This will be the first study of nontraditional cardio-
vascular risk factors in a rural Kenya that has the potential to
uncover interventions that can particularly impact rural populations in LMICs. Findings from this study will lead to the development of
a team-based health intervention that addresses hypertension in
rural populations in low and middle income countries.


Annals of Global Health