Availability, functionality and access of blood pressure machines at the points of care in public primary care facilities in Tororo district, Uganda

Innocent K. Besigye, Vicent Okuuny, Mari Armstrong-Hough, Anne R. Katahoire, Nelson K. Sewankambo, Robert Mash, Achilles Katamba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Early diagnosis of hypertension prevents a significant number of complications and premature deaths. In resource-variable settings, diagnosis may be limited by inadequate access to blood pressure (BP) machines. We sought to understand the availability, functionality and access of BP machines at the points of care within primary care facilities in Tororo district, Uganda. Methods: This was an explanatory sequential mixed-methods study combining a structured facility checklist and key informant interviews with primary care providers. The checklist was used to collect data on availability and functionality of BP machines within their organisational arrangements. Key informant interviews explored health providers’ access to BP machines. Results: The majority of health facilities reported at least one working BP machine. However, Health providers described limited access to machines because they are not located at each point of care. Health providers reported borrowing amongst themselves within their respective units or from other units within the facility. Some health providers purchase and bring their own BP machines to the health facilities or attempted to restore the functionality of broken ones. They are motivated to search the clinic for BP machines for some patients but not others based on their perception of the patient’s risk for hypertension. Conclusion: Access to BP machines at the point of care was limited. This makes hypertension screening selective based on health providers’ perception of the patients’ risk for hypertension. Training in proper BP machine use and regular maintenance will minimise frequent breakdowns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera5118
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Family Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Blood pressure machine
  • Health facilities
  • Hypertension
  • Primary care
  • Primary healthcare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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