THE INDIAN Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW), recently announced a nationwide expansion of their programme India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI). Launched in November 2017, IHCI has enrolled more than three lakh patients with high blood pressure in the government health facilities in 25 selected districts of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Maharashtra. The programme will now expand to 100 districts across India covering all the states. It will accelerate the implementation of quality hypertension treatment for over 15 crore people over the next four years and prevent deaths from heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
IHCI complements the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. In this regard, state nodal officers (NPCDCS) from 26 states and two union territories were present at the IHCI national-level scale up consultative meeting that was held in the premises of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Delhi.
On the occasion, Dr Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, ICMR, said, “The Government of India has adopted a national action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and has set a target for a 25 per cent reduction in high blood pressure by 2025. With approximately 20 crore adult patients having hypertension in India, more support from all quarters will be needed to help the government achieve this target. IHCI is a model initiative towards that. Prevention and treatment of hypertension is far safer for patients than expensive interventions like bypass surgery and dialysis.”
He added, “Everyone above the age of 30 years should get BP measured once a year and adopt a healthy lifestyle very early in life.”
Heart attack and stroke are the leading causes of death globally. Hypertension is the most common reason for sudden heart attack or stroke. In India, one in four adults have high blood pressure. Among people with high blood pressure, only half have been diagnosed and only one in 10 have blood pressure under control. As a result, a large number of people develop heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure during the productive years of their life.
Also addressing the audience, Dr Chinmoyee Das, DADG (NCD), MoHF&W, said, “Uncontrolled hypertension is a major attributable factor for cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular diseases and chronic kidney diseases. The diagnosis is simple and its treatment can be initiated at primary-care level with adequate training.”
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