ICMR expands India Hypertension Control Initiative to 100 districts

The initiative earlier covered just 25 districts in four states

By Jyoti Singh
Published: Thursday 01 August 2019
One in four adults has high blood pressure in India. Photo: Getty Images
One in four adults has high blood pressure in India. Photo: Getty Images One in four adults has high blood pressure in India. Photo: Getty Images

In India, one in four adults has high blood pressure. Among them, only half have been diagnosed and only 10 per cent have their blood pressure under control. As a result, a large number of people develop heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure while in their productive years of life.

To deal with the problem, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in collaboration with World Health Organization and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has decided to expand its India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) across the country.

Launched in November 2017, the initiative has enrolled more than three lakh patients with high blood pressure in government health facilities in 25 selected districts in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Maharashtra. It will now be expanded to cover 100 districts across all states.

The expansion is expected to accelerate the implementation of quality hypertension treatment for more than 15 crore people over the next four years.

“Approximately 20 crore adults in India have hypertension. Everyone above the age of 30 should get BP measured once a year and adopt a healthy lifestyle very early in life. Prevention and treatment of hypertension is far safer than expensive interventions like bypass surgery and dialysis,” said Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR.

The key features of the initiative include treatment protocols that simplify quality patient care in primary care facilities, provision of adequate supply of quality medicines and blood pressure monitors, comprehensive training for healthcare workers at all levels on latest practices in hypertension treatment, and team-based care for counseling and follow up of the patients.

It also seeks to create patient-centered services to improve patient support, reduce reliance on bigger hospitals far away from the patient’s home and increase in utilisation of health and wellness centres and primary health centers and provide for regular monitoring of health facilities and prompt feedback to program managers to bridge gaps if any in a timely manner.

“Hypertension is a silent killer. Treatment of hypertension is simple, effective, easily available and needs to be continued lifelong. The WHO has prioritised universal health coverage and the India Hypertension Control Initiative serves as an excellent example of a free program that improves the health of the Indian people,” said Henk Bekedam, WHO representative to India. (India Science Wire)

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