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January 24, 2024

The Role of Media in Publicizing the Need for Hypertension Control in Bangladesh

“As a journalist, I've learned that our responsibility extends beyond reporting news. We also work as advocates to drive policy objectives and raise awareness regarding public health concerns. The issue of hypertension has personally affected me as I've witnessed the impact it has on individuals. I have come to know that hypertension is a disease that often shows no initial symptoms but can lead to sudden and severe complications like strokes and heart attacks. Mass awareness can contribute to the early diagnosis and treatment of this condition.”

This excerpt is from an op-ed by Mr. Obaidul Kabir, the Executive Editor of the popular Bangladesh newspaper, The Daily Janakantha. He reflects on his transformative experience after attending a Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) workshop on hypertension control. Appreciating the knowledge gained on hypertension related issues, he has committed to raise awareness on this critical issue among the public through media.

GHAI and our media engagement partner, PROGGA, have been actively engaged in sensitizing journalists on hypertension control issues in Bangladesh for almost two years. Over 188 journalists, including editors of leading media newspapers and TV channels, have become more knowledgeable about hypertension, which affects one in every four adults in Bangladesh.

PROGGA has been conducting sensitization sessions and field visits for journalists from national and sub national media, to raise awareness of hypertension control and to create a conducive environment and a priority for the government and public to act. Interactions with doctors, health care workers and patients in rural areas, have left lasting impression on editors, motivating them to include more reports in their newspapers and TV channels, on the symptoms, risks, treatment and the urgency to control hypertension.

Sustained media coverage and evidence-based news reports have propelled the government into action. It has ensured the availability of hypertension control medicines in all community clinics across the country.

Editors of leading media outlets discuss the hypertension control issue at a workshop.