New Delhi: The Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and Secretary, Department of Health Research (DHR) and Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) launched the India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) on 28th November. The IHMI aims to reduce disability and death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure (hypertension), reducing salt consumption and eliminating artificial trans-fats, leading risk factors for CVD.
IHMI is a collaborative project between ICMR, MoHFW, State Governments, World Health Organization (WHO), and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. A launch event at the Ministry today was co- chaired by Ms Preeti Sudan (MOHFW Health Secretary), Dr Soumya Swaminathan (Secretary, DHR and DG, ICMR) and speakers included Mr Manoj Jhalani (AS, MD, NHM), Dr BD Athani (Special DGHS), Mr Pawan Aggarwal ( CEO, FSSAI), Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO India Representative, Dr Alka Aggarwal Singh, Country Director for Vital Strategies, State Secretaries and higher state and ICMR officials also joined the event.
Around 200 million adults in India have high blood pressure, yet control rates for the condition remain low. Studies suggest that in rural areas in India, only one quarter of people with hypertension are aware of their condition, and only around 10 percent have their blood pressure controlled. In urban areas, around 40 percent of people with hypertension are aware of their condition, and only around 20 percent have their blood pressure controlled.This initiative aims to strengthen 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 the primary health care level, within the existing healthcare system, and is aligned with WHO’s Global HEARTS Initiative and national guidelines.
The ICMR, PHFI and IHME’s ‘India: Health of the Nation’s States’ report, published this month, reports that every state now suffers from a higher burden of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and injuries than infectious diseases and finds 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 deadly complications have occurred,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, DHR and Director-General, ICMR, Government of India. “This initiative will enable state governments – working alongside the other IHMI partners – to improve treatment of hypertension to achieve our shared goal of reducing preventable deaths from cardiovascular disease.”
The Government of India has adopted a national action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs with specific targets to be achieved by 2025, including a 25 percent reduction in overall mortality from CVD, a25 percent relative reduction in the prevalence of raised blood pressure and a 30 percent reduction in salt/sodium intake.