The Government will expand its hypertension screening program, India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) to 100 more districts covering all states.
Launched in 2017, IHCI has enrolled more than three lakh patients with high blood pressure in the government health facilities in 25 selected districts of the country in the states of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, and Maharashtra. The program will be expanded to 100 more districts with the help of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The project will accelerate the implementation of quality hypertension treatment for over 15 crore population over the next four years and prevent deaths from the heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
“The Government has adopted a national action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases and has set a target for a 25% reduction in high blood pressure by 2025. With approximately 20 crore adult patients with 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 are far safer for patients than expensive interventions like bypass surgery and dialysis,” Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General ICMR said.
“Hypertension is a silent killer. Treatment of hypertension is simple, effective, easily available and needs to be continued lifelong. The WHO has prioritized Universal Health Coverage, and the India Hypertension Control Initiative serves as an excellent example of a free program that improves the health of the Indian people,” Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India, said. The project is supported by ‘Resolve to save lives’ – an initiative of Vital Strategies who is the international technical partner to the program. IHCI aims to contribute to health system strengthening through hypertension treatment protocols to simplify quality patient care in the primary care facilities, prioritizing adequate quantity of quality medicine and blood pressure monitors, comprehensive training for healthcare workers on latest practices on hypertension.
The program will also focusing on team-based care to involve nurses, health workers and ASHAs for counseling and follow up of the patients and to improve adherence to treatment, patient-centered services to improve patient support, reduce reliance on bigger hospitals far away from the patient’s home, increase the utilization of “Health and wellness centers” and primary health centers and reduce the travel and expenditure on medicines. IHCI complements the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.