Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Can non-physician health-care workers assess and manage cardiovascular risk in primary care?

Dele O Abegunde, Bakuti Shengelia, Anne Luyten, Alexandra Cameron, Francesca Celletti, Sania Nishtar, Vasu Pandurangi, Shanthi Mendis


To ascertain the reliability of applying the WHO Cardiovascular Risk Management Package by non-physician health-care workers (NPHWs) in typical primary health-care settings.


Based on an a priori 80% agreement level between the NPHWs and the “expert” physicians (gold standard), 649 paired (matched) applications of the protocol were obtained for analysis using Kappa statistic and multivariate logit regression.


Results indicate over 80% agreement between raters, from moderate to perfect levels of agreement in almost all of the sections in the package. The odds of obtaining a difference between raters and a benchmark are not statistically significant.


Applying the WHO Cardiovascular Risk Management Package, NPHWs can be retrained to reliably and effectively assess and manage cardiovascular risks in primary health-care settings where there are no attending physicians. The package could be a useful tool for scaling up the management of cardiovascular diseases in primary health care.