Research Articles

Diabetes and hypertension screening in Zandspruit, Johannesburg 2012–2014

Paul Rheeder, Tessy Muthembe, Stefan Lawson, Julie Brink
South African Family Practice | Vol 58, No 6 : November/December| a4443 | DOI: | © 2016 Paul Rheeder | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 March 2016 | Published: 16 December 2016

About the author(s)

Paul Rheeder, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Tessy Muthembe, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Stefan Lawson, Project HOPE, Johannesburg, South Africa
Julie Brink, Project HOPE, Johannesburg, South Africa

Full Text:



Background: Hypertension (HT) and diabetes mellitus (DM) affect millions of individuals in South Africa and are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Given the substantial public health and socio-economic burden South Africa faces due to the rising rates of chronic diseases, prevention strategies with community engagement may play a vital role in controlling these diseases and their associated sequelae.

Objectives and methods: Project HOPE, an implementing partner of the Lilly Non Communicable Disease (NCD) Partnership programme in South Africa, conducted screening days and home visits as part of a non-communicable disease awareness campaign in the Zandspruit suburb of western Johannesburg (lower income, informal settlement). Standardised assessment tools were used, which included glucose and blood pressure measurement.

Results: Of 7607 participants screened, 2773/7470 (37.1%) of those with blood pressure values could be classified as hypertensive with systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥ 140 mmHg or diastolic BP ≥ 90 mmHg. Of the 7607 glucose screened individuals, 630 (8.3%) had referable random capillary glucose levels ≥ 7.8 mmol/l. There was a clear gradient of increased prevalence over age and body mass index (BMI) categories.

Conclusions: In this urban low-income suburb hypertension was common with hyperglycaemia less so. The number of participants returning to the clinic for confirmation of diagnoses was less than optimal and highlights the problem of community- based screening.


diabetes mellitus; hypertension; obesity; screening; South Africa


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