Sustained effect of health insurance and facility quality improvement on blood pressure in adults with hypertension in Nigeria: A population-based study

Int J Cardiol. 2016 Jan 1;202:477-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.09.036. Epub 2015 Sep 21.


Background: Hypertension is a leading risk factor for death in sub-Saharan Africa. Quality treatment is often not available nor affordable. We assessed the effect of a voluntary health insurance program, including quality improvement of healthcare facilities, on blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive adults in rural Nigeria.

Methods: We compared changes in outcomes from baseline (2009) to midline (2011) and endline (2013) between non-pregnant hypertensive adults in the insurance program area (PA) and a control area (CA), through household surveys. The primary outcome was the difference between the PA and CA in change in BP, using difference-in-differences analysis.

Results: Of 1500 eligible households, 1450 (96.7%) participated, including 559 (20.8%) hypertensive individuals, of which 332 (59.4%) had follow-up data. Insurance coverage increased from 0% at baseline to 41.8% at endline in the PA and remained under 1% in the CA. The PA showed a 4.97 mm Hg (95% CI: -0.76 to +10.71 mm Hg) greater decrease in systolic BP and a 1.81 mm Hg (-1.06 to +4.68 mm Hg) greater decrease in diastolic BP from baseline to endline compared to the CA. Respondents with stage 2 hypertension showed an 11.43 mm Hg (95% CI: 1.62 to 21.23 mm Hg) greater reduction in systolic BP and 3.15 mm Hg (-1.22 to +7.53 mm Hg) greater reduction in diastolic BP in the PA compared to the CA. Attrition did not affect the results.

Conclusion: Access to improved quality healthcare through an insurance program in rural Nigeria was associated with a significant longer-term reduction in systolic BP in subjects with moderate or severe hypertension.

Keywords: Access to care; Health insurance; Hypertension; Nigeria; Quality of care; Sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure Determination / economics
  • Blood Pressure Determination / methods
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy
  • Hypertension / economics
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / mortality
  • Insurance Coverage / economics
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Insurance, Health / economics
  • Insurance, Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data