Assessing descriptions of scalability for hypertension control interventions implemented in low-and middle-income countries: A systematic review

Joyce Gyamfi, Dorice Vieira, Juliet Iwelunmor, Beverly Xaviera Watkins, Olajide Williams, Emmanuel Peprah, Gbenga Ogedegbe, John P. Allegrante

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The prevalence of hypertension continues to rise in low- and middle-income- countries (LMICs) where scalable, evidence-based interventions (EBIs) that are designed to reduce morbidity and mortality attributed to hypertension have yet to be fully adopted or disseminated. We sought to evaluate evidence from published randomized controlled trials using EBIs for hypertension control implemented in LMICs, and identify the WHO/ExpandNet scale-up components that are relevant for consideration during "scale-up" implementation planning.

METHODS: Systematic review of RCTs reporting EBIs for hypertension control implemented in LMICs that stated "scale-up" or a variation of scale-up; using the following data sources PubMed/Medline, Web of Science Biosis Citation Index (BCI), CINAHL, EMBASE, Global Health, Google Scholar, PsycINFO; the grey literature and from inception through June 2021 without any restrictions on publication date. Two reviewers independently assessed studies for inclusion, conducted data extraction using the WHO/ExpandNet Scale-up components as a guide and assessed the risk of bias using the Cochrane risk-of-bias tool. We provide intervention characteristics for each EBI, BP results, and other relevant scale-up descriptions.

MAIN RESULTS: Thirty-one RCTs were identified and reviewed. Studies reported clinically significant differences in BP, with 23 studies reporting statistically significant mean differences in BP (p < .05) following implementation. Only six studies provided descriptions that captured all of the nine WHO/ExpandNet components. Multi-component interventions, including drug therapy and health education, provided the most benefit to participants. The studies were yet to be scaled and we observed limited reporting on translation of the interventions into existing institutional policy (n = 11), cost-effectiveness analyses (n = 2), and sustainability measurements (n = 3).

CONCLUSION: This study highlights the limited data on intervention scalability for hypertension control in LMICs and demonstrates the need for better scale-up metrics and processes for this setting.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Registration PROSPERO (CRD42019117750).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0272071
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Developing Countries
  • Humans
  • Hypertension/epidemiology
  • Income


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