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Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Scaling up a nurse-led primary care system in Ghana

Status: Ongoing

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (MMSM) is an international leader in medical and scientific training, biomedical research, and patient care. MSSM's Arnhold Institute for Global Health specializes in the strengthening of global health systems and implementation research. The Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC) is a globally-recognized institute of the Ghana Health Service, the branch of Ghana’s Ministry of Health tasked with the delivery of essential medical services to the Ghanaian public.

With the support of LINKS, MSSM, with NHRC as a community partner, will implement a successfully-piloted nurse-led hypertension intervention in twenty primary care clinics in the Navrongo region. This program, called the Task-Strengthening Strategy for Hypertension (TASSH), leverages the World Health Organization CVD package (WHO-CVD) that preceded HEARTS. TASSH lowered systolic blood pressure by a mean of 20.4 mm Hg in a prior trial in central urban Ghana. MSSM and NHRC will implement TASSH in the low-income northern region in Navrongo's purview and will deliver the intervention through the Community-Based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) program, a nationwide nurse-led primary care system invented by the NHRC.

"Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a massive and growing threat across Ghana, just as it is in the United States and worldwide. Our research – based on frequent local demographic surveys - suggests that the annual death rate from CVD in Navrongo has more than doubled since the mid-2000s, and that CVD afflicts increasingly lower-income community members. I believe primary care is a universal human right, and that it will never become reality without a focus on the leading cause of human disease and death worldwide."

- David Heller, Assistant Professor