The Burden of Hypertension in the Rural and Urban populations of Tanzania: A Review of Trends, Impacts and Response

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Introduction: Hypertension burden is increasing in Africa. Evidence suggests a higher prevalence in different populations in Tanzania. Nevertheless, such evidence appears to be scattered.

Objective: We examine literature to document the trends, risk factors, management and barriers to hypertension care in Tanzania.

Method: A search was performed using key words (hypertension, high blood pressure, non-communicable disease, cardiovascular disease and Tanzania). Publications in English in PubMed, AJOL, Hinari, Scopus, EMBASE, African Index Medicus, Google Scholar, Web of Science and grey literature from inception to December 2016 were examined.

Results: We found 609 research articles and reports on hypertension mentioning Tanzania. Only 67 contained specific information for Tanzania, 20 excluded for lacking relevant data and 3 were inaccessible. The 44 publications reviewed suggest increasing prevalence of hypertension in different rural and urban populations: from 2- 10% in 1960’s to 13-79% in 2016. Alcohol, obesity and cigarette smoking are the major risk factors. Concerns of poor healthcare seeking, treatment, adherence, care continuity and insufficient national response were enormous.

Conclusion: The burden of hypertension is rapidly growing in Tanzania withinadequate sectoral response. We recommend prioritization of WHO cost-effective interventions, practical implementation of the 2016-2020 NCDs strategic plan and interventional research to address the challenges of biomedical hypertension care.


Tanzania Journal of Health Sciences