by Stanley Azuakola
What do 36.35 of Kirikiri prisoners have in common with former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; former minister of state for finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda; the permanent secretary of the ministry of finance, Anastasia Daniel-Nwaobia; and 70% of staff of the ministry of finance? Answer: They are all hypertensive, a fact which highlights how prevalent the disease has become in the country and yet how so few are even aware of their status.
Neimeth International, a pharmaceutical company, said that it conducted a study which showed that 36.2 percent of inmates currently undergoing jail terms in Kirikiri Federal Prison are hypertensive. The managing director of the company, Pharm. Emmanuel Ekunno, disclosed on Thursday in Abuja that out of a sample of 69 inmates, 44 have low blood pressure.
Meanwhile in May, a few weeks before the handover to a new government, the then minister of finance, Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that she was hypertensive. She also mentioned that Yuguda, the minister of state; Daniel-Nwaobia, the permanent secretary; and 70 per cent of the staff of the ministry of finance are hypertensive. She was speaking while commissioning a new clinic in the ministry, in Abuja.
“70 per cent of my staff have high blood pressure. This goes to show the amount of stress we go through. All three of us here (referring to herself, Amb. Yuguda and the Perm. Sec.) have high blood pressure. Minister of State has High BP and you are on medication. Perm Sec has and I have. The amount of stress in the ministry is unbelievable. Many times we are in the office until 1am, looking for ways , want to push out money to make payment. Many people don’t know this. We now have a clinic so that people can go and check quickly up when they start having headache before someone collapses.
“I want to on behalf of myself and my High Blood Pressure colleagues say that I am happy commission this clinic. Minister of State, please forgive me for letting out the secret , you know how I talk- I am very open,” she said.
On its part, the Neimeth MD, Ekunno, said that there needs to be a massive campaign against upsurge of hypertension in the nation especially as the ailment is even spreading to juveniles.
Hypertension which is also known as arterial hypertension or high blood pressure is caused as a result of excess salt intake, obesity, stress among others.