People in rural areas of Bangladesh will no longer have to forgo their daily wages to get hypertension medicines. A momentous decision was made by the Community Clinic Health Support Trust (CCHST) on May 14 to include a key hypertension medicine, Amlodipine, in the drug list at community clinics. This will facilitate the availability of anti-hypertensive medicines in rural areas across the country.

Since 2021, Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) and its partners, the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh and PROGGA, have been relentlessly advocating the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to increase funding for a continuous supply of anti-hypertensive drugs at community clinics across Bangladesh. This policy win will help decentralize follow-up visits and medication refills for the poorest patients who had to travel over 2-3 hours to get their medications refilled.

Vandana Shah, Vice President of Health Systems Strengthening at GHAI said, “I applaud the government’s decision to make hypertension medicines available in rural areas across the country. This landmark step will contribute significantly to reducing the burden of hypertension, and related non-communicable diseases and deaths in Bangladesh.

Hypertension is one of the three major causes of death and disability in Bangladesh. One in every five adults (21%) in Bangladesh suffers from hypertension.

Since 2021, GHAI has collaborated with experts, civil society organizations and media to increase awareness about hypertension and to create a conducive environment to make it a priority for the government and public to take action. And this is one example of one of the impact GHAI has been having through its advocacy efforts strengthening national hypertension control programs by ensuring treatment and anti-hypertensive medicines for the people at the grassroots level, where it is most needed.

                                               Service recipients and community health care providers at community clinic in Sylhet

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