Prevalence, awareness, control and determinants of hypertension among primary health care professional nurses in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Sizeka Monakali, Daniel Ter Goon, Eunice Seekoe, Eyitayo O. Owolabi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Nurses in primary health care settings are key stakeholders in the diagnosis and management of hypertensive patients. Unfortunately, the working conditions of nurses predispose them to stress, long hours of work, shift duties and unhealthy diets, which are drivers of hypertension. Yet nurses are often overlooked in health screening exercises, primarily because they are assumed to be informed and ‘healthy’. Aim: This study examined the prevalence, awareness, control and determinants of hypertension among professional primary health care nurses in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Setting: This was a cross-sectional survey of 203 professional nurses working at 41 primary health care facilities of the Eastern Cape Province. Methods: A modified WHO STEPwise questionnaire was used for data collection during face-toface interviews. The information obtained included demographic information, behavioural lifestyles, anthropometric and blood pressure (BP) measurements. Hypertension is defined as an average of two BP ≥ 140/90 mmHg or self-reported history of antihypertensive medication use. Results: The prevalence of hypertension was 52%. Of this, 41% were unaware of their hypertension status. Of those who were aware and on treatment, only 38.1% had a controlled blood pressure. After adjusting for confounders (for physical activity, dietary practices, parity, income and alcohol use), only age and duration of practice were independent predictors of hypertension among the study population. Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of hypertension among the study participants. There is an unexpected low rate of awareness and suboptimal control of blood pressure among the participants. Age is the significant predictor of hypertension among professional nurses in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. There is an urgent need for the implementation of an effective workplace health programme for nurses in the province.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalAfrican Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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