Hypertension—commonly known as high blood pressure—is a serious problem around the world. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have the condition, and ⅔ of these people live in middle- and low-income countries. In these settings, access to quality, affordable healthcare is limited for most people. As a result, hypertension and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have very high rates of morbidity and mortality because people cannot get the regular medical attention they need to manage their condition.
Hypertension is largely attributed to genetic predispositions worsened by behavioral factors such as diets high in sodium, obesity, social stressors, and inactivity. Hypertension contributes to an increased risk of stroke, renal failure, and heart failure. In fact, according to the Haitian Ministry of Health, high blood pressure is the leading cause of death in adults in Haiti. While hypertension is fairly easy to treat with medications and regular checkups, many patients do not seek care until it’s too late. “They live with hypertension silently,” Mackensy adds. “What brings them to the hospital is oftentimes a serious complication. It’s a big problem.”
Mackensy sees many of these patients in the internal medicine department. Under his care, he provides them with medications and careful observation and ensures they eat the nutritious meals the hospital provides. He also works to educate his patients on the risks of living with high blood pressure and the importance of being tested. “Taking medications changes lives,” he says. SBH recently opened an NCD outpatient clinic to provide patients with the regular care they need to stay healthy and avoid serious health complications. At the clinic, NCD patients receive a monthly checkup to help monitor their condition, track their progress, and adjust their medications as needed. To date, nearly 800 patients are receiving regular care at the clinic.
At SBH, Mackensy and his fellow physicians work every day to treat patients with hypertension and other NCDs. Through interventions, medications, and community education, our staff is working to combat hypertension head-on. Mackensy knows that his mother would be proud of him. “I still remember when I told her I wanted to be a doctor,” he remembers, “she was so happy.”