With more than 1.4 billion people across the world affected by hypertension, it is considered the world’s largest killer, responsible for at least 10 million deaths every year. The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) advocates for prioritization of hypertension as a public health emergency. We work with governments, civil society organizations and the media to create awareness, strengthen health systems and improve budget allocation for hypertension treatment.
- We work with governments to prioritize hypertension control as part of their overall non-communicable disease prevention and control efforts. Our core strategies include:
- Advocate policy makers to strengthen their health systems to improve quality of hypertension care and make treatment and care available to all, streamline operations that will enable patient-centric care and put in place stronger monitoring and oversight mechanisms.
- Engage with policymakers, media and patient advocacy groups to demand change, build political will, raise awareness and put the spotlight on affordable and accessible hypertension treatment.
- Prioritize adequate funding for a national hypertension program, trained heath care workers delivering uninterrupted and quality services to all and the availability of medicines and properly calibrated blood pressure measurement devices.
Where we work:
India and Bangladesh
- India has intensified its commitment to hypertension control at the national, state and district levels. The India Hypertension Control Initiative, launched in 2017, had expanded to 26 states of India, covering 15,000+ health facilities and nearly 47% of patients being treated had their blood pressure under control.
- In Bangladesh, GHAI has sensitized 135 journalists (81 at the national level and 54 at the sub-national level) on hypertension issues resulting in over 550 news reports in leading news dailies.
More than 200 million adults in India have high blood pressure. Only about half have been diagnosed, putting several million at risk of sudden heart attacks and strokes. With the prevalence rate of 35.7%, the Indian state of Punjab has the country’s highest burden of hypertension. Access to health services is a major challenge for people in remote, rural areas and because of this many remain undiagnosed, unaware of their condition and fail to continue with their treatment.
GHAI partnered with Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and the Government of Punjab to strengthen hypertension services at its Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs), which provide comprehensive primary healthcare including free essential drugs and diagnostic services, close to people’s homes. To reduce medicine blackouts, GHAI advocated with the state government to improve drug logistics at the HWCs. Training and technical support was provided to all health workers and a sustained media campaign was run to improve awareness and augment political will.
The collaboration between GHAI, the state of Punjab and PGIMER made it possible to expand access to primary healthcare services, even during a pandemic. Telemedicine services were expanded to over 1,600 HWCs across the state and the number of people seeking consultations for hypertension increased substantially. India’s national government ranked Punjab the top state for HWC implementation, a recognition that has prompted other states to replicate Punjab’s success.
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