Initiative launched to reduce cardiovascular disease-related deaths

New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday launched an initiative aimed at reducing disability and cardiovascular disease-related deaths in the country.

The India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) was launched in collaboration with the Department of Health Research (DHR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research ICMR).

According to an official statement by the health ministry, around 200 million adults in India suffer from high blood pressure, but studies suggest that in rural areas, only a quarter of the population with hypertension are aware of their condition.

In urban areas, around 40 percent people with hypertension are aware of their condition and only around 20 per cent have their blood pressure under control, it said.

According to the statement, this initiative aims at strengthening the cardiovascular disease component of the government’s National Program for Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).

It will focus on strengthening hypertension management and monitoring at primary health care level, within the existing healthcare system and is in line with the WHO’s Global Hearts Initiative and national guidelines.

The ICMR, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and IHME’s ‘India: Health of the Nation’s States’ report published this month, mentions that every state now suffers from a higher burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries than infectious diseases.

The report states that the risk factors for heart attack and stroke are increasingly prevalent in every state.

“Hypertension is the single biggest risk factor for heart attacks and stroke in India and often detected only after occurrence of deadly complications,” Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, DHR and Director-General, ICMR said.

“This initiative will enable state governments working alongside the other IHMI partners to improve treatment for hypertension and achieve our shared goal of reducing deaths due cardiovascular disease,” she said.

The government has adopted a national action plan for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases with specific targets to be achieved by 2025, including a 25 per cent reduction in overall mortality due to cardiovascular diseases. 

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