Background and Aims

Background and Aims

Among non communicable diseases Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a leading cause of mortality and is responsible for one-third of all global deaths. Epidemiological data provide strong evidence that hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease and kidney failure. Studies on migrant populations clearly demonstrate the enhanced susceptibility of South Asians to CVD compared to other ethnic groups.

In developing countries like Pakistan, the magnitude of the problem of uncontrolled hypertension is even greater. The National Health Survey of Pakistan reported that 21.5 per cent of the urban population over 15 years (one in every three persons the over age of 45) suffers from hypertension and only less than three per cent of the hypertensive had their blood pressure (BP) controlled to the conventional recommendations of under 140/90mmHg. To address this problem, faculty from the Department of Community Health Sciences (CHS) and Medicine in collaboration with Imperial College UK, designed a full-scale study titled "Population-based Strategies for Effective Control of Hypertension in Pakistan​" that was launched in April 2004 and was funded by UK-based Wellcome Trust.

The aim of the Hypertension Research Team in CHS at Aga Khan University (AKU) is to improve the health of individuals and populations by promoting equitable, evidence-based and quality health care at the regional and global levels. This is achieved by conducting population surveys to estimate the burden of CVD using rigorous scientific methodology.

Key Points

  • To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information with the aim of stimulating new research and encouraging collaboration between researchers who study hypertension;
  • To educate those involved in research into and management of hypertension and related conditions;
  • To provide training for scientists in presenting and explaining their research;
  • To organise regional, national and international seminars, conferences, workshops, lectures, classes, meetings and courses either alone or with others to promote the above aims.

About the Lead Investigator

Dr Tazeen H. Jafar, an alumna of AKU Medical College (Class of 1990), is the head of Section of Nephrology and the Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Unit (CEU). She is jointly appointed by the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences, AKU, as a Professor and is adjunct faculty at the New England Medical Center, Tufts University, Boston and at Imperial College London.

Dr Jafar has led the first ever large scale, investigator-initiated, population based projects on strategies to control hypertension, CVD and kidney disease in Pakistan. Her work has not only highlighted the rising burden of these chronic diseases in the region, she also led the design of several novel, innovative, and cost effective solutions for preventing the same which are being tested in several communities of Pakistan by her research team. Her work has been published in major scientific journals of highest repute, and has acclaimed wide international recognition.