At least 80% of early deaths caused by heart disease and strokes can be avoided. Older individuals over the age of 50 are particularly vulnerable. In South Africa half the number of individuals over 50 are also hypertensive. Older persons from low resourced settings often do not have access to medical facilities, either due to lack of affordability or due to a lack of health services. Mobile clinics will be used to reach elders in community-based settings to conduct screenings.
The epidemiological pattern for cardio-and cerebrovascular diseases is startling. Heart disease is the world's number 1 killer claiming 17.5 million lives every year. In SA these diseases are the 2nd highest for mortality, following HIV/AIDS. There are 82 000 deaths occurring annually, with 1 in every 5 deaths due to CVD. In SA half the number of individuals over 50 are also hypertensive (have high blood pressure) with a large proportion of them not knowing this.
Older individuals living in facilities, senior citizens clubs, places of religious worship, and other targeted groups of older people will be serviced by having their health risk assessment (HRA) done and, where and when possible, having a health talk by a professional member of the team.The HRAs will include an overall health risk assessment, including mental health indicators, using self-reported data. Biomedical data will include blood pressure measures, blood glucose, and BMI.
The use of the mobile clinic will enable the reach of vulnerable individuals who will have otherwise not received the primary prevention care. Silent killers, such as hypertension will be detected among older persons. This "linkage to care, people-centred model" will save lives and decrease the morbidity and mortality of those 50 and over. Health education and knowledge empowerment will also have impact as it will be a driver for healthier behaviours. Finally, the work is aligned with WHOs model