Effectiveness of a provider and patient-focused intervention to improve hypertension management and control in the primary health care setting in Cuba: a controlled before-after study

Esteban Londoño Agudelo, Tullia Battaglioli, Addys Díaz Piñera, Armando Rodríguez Salvá, Tom Smekens, Fernando Achiong Estupiñán, Isabel Carbonell García, Patrick Van der Stuyft

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BACKGROUND: Implementation research to improve hypertension control is scarce in Latin America. We assessed the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at primary care practitioners and hypertensive patients in a setting that provides integrated care through an accessible network of family practices.

METHODS: We conducted in Cardenas and Santiago, Cuba, a controlled before-after study in 122 family practices, which are staffed with a doctor and a nurse. The intervention comprised a control arm (usual care), an arm with a component targeting providers (hypertension management workshops), and an arm with, on top of the latter, a component targeting patients (hypertension schools). To evaluate the effect, we undertook a baseline survey before the intervention and an endline survey sixteen months after its start. In each survey, we randomly included 1400 hypertensive patients. Controlled hypertension, defined as a mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure below 140 and 90 mmHg, respectively, was the primary endpoint assessed. We performed linear and logistic regression with a Generalized Estimating Equations approach to determine if the proportion of patients with controlled hypertension changed following the intervention.

RESULTS: Seventy-three doctors, including substitutes, and 54 nurses from the 61 intervention family practices attended the provider workshops, and 3308 patients -51.6% of the eligible ones- participated in the hypertension schools. Adherence to anti-hypertensive medication improved from 42% at baseline to 63% at the endline in the intervention arms. Under the provider intervention, the proportion of patients with controlled hypertension increased by 18.9%, from 48.7% at baseline to 67.6% at endline. However, adding the component that targeted hypertensive patients did not augment the effect. Compared to patients in the control arm, the adjusted OR of having controlled hypertension was 2.36 (95% CI, 1.73-3.22) in the provider and 2.00 (95% CI, 1.68-2.37) in the provider plus patient intervention arm.

CONCLUSIONS: The intervention's patient component remains to be fine-tuned. Still, we demonstrate that it is feasible to substantially improve hypertension outcomes by intervention at the primary care level, despite an already relatively high control rate.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Primary Care
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)10
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Humans
  • Cuba
  • Controlled Before-After Studies
  • Hypertension/drug therapy
  • Blood Pressure
  • Primary Health Care

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