Investigation of healthcare marketing communication channels used for hypertension in low income setting in Nairobi County
Kitulu, Jacqueline W.
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Hypertension is a chronic non communicable disease and its prevalence is on an alarming rise in Kenya, Africa and globally. It is noted to be the number one risk factor for global mortality, a position reiterated by numerous scholars. It is made worse by the fact that in most cases it is an illness without symptoms, so that it can persist for many years with resultant complications that are expensive to manage on an individual and national level. Management of this global time bomb will require an awareness/ information education communication aspect to address the silent nature of this condition. The aim of the study was to determine the most effective healthcare marketing communication channel that would lead to early detection of hypertension through awareness and behaviour change that would lead the largely unaware public to seek hypertension diagnosis and treatment at health facilities. Healthcare marketing techniques have been very effective in changing patient behaviour in the realm of communicable diseases such as HIV. This descriptive survey was carried out in low income setting of Nairobi County taking advantage of sites that were involved in the Healthy Heart Africa project. The study found that health promotion channels used for behaviour change communication for communicable diseases can also be utilized for non communicable diseases. Interpersonal communication was found to be the most significant health communication channel for creating public awareness on hypertension, mobilizing for screening and therefore diagnosis and treatment. Four other channels stood out as being potentially significant for increasing hypertension awareness and these were newspapers, internet, use of barazas and community health workers. The study population was also noted to have high levels of awareness of the risk factors for and the seriousness of hypertension as a medical condition.