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Professor YK Seedat, Emeritus Professor
in Medicine at UKZN.

UKZN’s Emeritus Professor in Medicine, Yackoob Seedat, has been recognized by the World Hypertension League for having made a notable achievement in hypertension prevention and control in sub-Saharan Africa. This award will be published in the Journal of Clinical hypertension.

The announcement was made by President of the World Hypertension League (WHL), Dr Norm Campbell, who said, ‘The WHL looks forward to working with you on the daunting task to prevent and control hypertension in sub-Saharan Africa. I thank you for your kind support of the Fact Sheet on hypertension and congratulate you and South Africa on the world -leading programme to reduce dietary salt.’

Hypertension is more common in Black people living in sub-Saharan Africa than any other racial group, and only around 5 percent to 10 percent of the population had adequate control of their blood pressure.

There were multiple factors which caused hypertension, including excessive salt intake, obesity in middle aged Black Africans, and stress. Hypertension was a key cause of strokes, heart failure and kidney failure in people from sub-Saharan Africa.

This prompted Seedat to publish the 6th South African hypertension practice guidelines last year, which is a simplified approach to assessment and treatment that can be implemented by medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and pharmacists to diminish the impact of Hypertension and related cardiovascular disease risk in this country. Currently in South Africa, 30.4% of the population has hypertension.

The evidence-based approach of the guidelines also includes the management of children with hypertension as well as people with Diabetes and HIV and Aids. The guidelines reiterate that prolonged highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is associated with a higher prevalence of systolic HPT,40 and it is essential that BP is monitored in patients receiving HAART.

Reflecting on the recognition by the World Hypertension League, Seedat said, ‘I am humbled to receive this recognition however Hypertension was in sub-Saharan Africa in 2010, the leading cause of death increasing 67% since 1990. It was estimated to cause over 500,000 deaths and 10 million years of life lost in 2010.  Whilst it’s humbling receiving this recognition, there is still a lot of work to be done.’

Last year, Seedat was awarded the ISH Developing World Award by the International Society for Hypertension for his contribution to medicine and especially in recognition of his research in the field of hypertension in Africa.

Seedat, who attended Sastri College in Durban as a high school pupil, studied in Dublin as an undergraduate and returned to South Africa as a qualified doctor. He was Head of Medicine at the former University of Natal Medical School from 1978-1994.

Seedat’s research on hypertension and renal medicine spans 400 articles, 41 chapters in books and over 200 presentations in international congresses.