PhD Study Investigates Blood Pressure Profiles of Residents in Nigeria
UKZN School of Nursing and Public Health student, Dr Isioma Mary Ofili investigated the blood pressure profiles of residents in Ibusa community in Delta State Nigeria as part of her PhD study.
Ofili, who graduated with a PhD degree in Nursing Research, undertook a study titled: “An Ethnographic Study of Predictors of Hypertension and its Preventive Strategies in a Rural Community in Delta State, Nigeria”, which established predictors of hypertension in the community.
Said Ofili: ‘The study also explored traditional and cultural practices associated with hypertension management, with the aim being to develop guidelines for management of hypertension through a “System Support Strategy”, combining appropriate and effective clinical care with community action, and taking into account facilities and social and environmental factors influencing the development of hypertension in rural settings.’
The community-based study was conducted in three phases and has produced four articles.
She said the research identified hypertension risk (predisposing) factors in the studied community and formed the basis for specific health education programmes in the community as well as for implementing preventive interventions in a culturally sensitive and situation specific manner.
‘The developed practice guidelines encompass preventive and culturally sensitive therapeutic programmes for hypertension in a typical rural community. In this respect, these guidelines differ from other currently available guidelines which are confined to more generally applicable interventions and practices in health care at large.’
Ofili’s international study was supervised by the School of Nursing Public Heath Dean and Head of School, Professor Busi Ncama, and it was the first of its kind in Delta State, Nigeria.
‘Based on UKZN standards, a PhD thesis must show innovation. One of my examiners wrote the following: “In chapter two (published article) the student successfully integrates the principles of the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and the Health Belief Model (HBM), It is indeed commendable that the student managed to integrate both theories - few students can achieve such advanced cognitive applications of theories to their own studies’. ‘In chapter 3, it is a commendable achievement that the student managed to compile this draft article incorporating the current study’s findings’. ‘The study was well designed (all three phases) and well presented in the thesis”.’
Ofili is a Senior Lecturer at Delta State University in Abraka, Nigeria. ‘With my PhD degree, I would like to affiliate with the World Health Organization in making “Health for All” at the grass root level a reality in Nigeria.’
She says her late father instilled values in her that she has to this day. ‘I still have my mum and other five siblings who have been very encouraging and always there for me. I enjoy reading and teaching which is what keeps me going.’