The Secretary (DHR) and DG, ICMR, Soumya Swaminathan addressing the participants, at the launch of the India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI), in New Delhi on November 28, 2017 along with Secretary MoHFW Preeti Sudan and other diginitaries.
The Secretary (DHR) and DG, ICMR, Soumya Swaminathan addressing the participants, at the launch of the India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI), in New Delhi on November 28, 2017 along with Secretary MoHFW Preeti Sudan and other diginitaries.

Hypertension enhances risk of cardiovascular disease

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.
To enhance awareness on prevention from hypertension led risks, on 28 November 2017, Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW) and Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, DHR and DG, ICMR, launched the India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI). 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.

Here, Preeti Sudan, Secretary (HFW), underlined the various aspects of the non-communicable diseases like prevention, detection and management. She stated that creating awareness about NCDs is vital as it is a silent disease. The Health Secretary further said that there is urgent need to raise awareness about NCDs amongst families regarding packaged food and processed foods with excessive salt and trans-fat. She also highlighted the need for incorporating yoga in one’s life for prevention and management of hypertension.

Further, Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, DHR and DG, ICMR highlighted the importance of initiating and managing treatment for hypertension. She emphasised on the need for public education programme on nutrition and training of frontline healthcare workers regarding management of hypertension. She stated that the risk factors have to be managed at a very young age and we need to look into behavioural issues related to food intake, especially salt.

Building on Henk Bekedam, WHO India Representative, highlighted the importance of awareness and detection of hypertension.

The India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI) is a collaborative project of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), State Governments, World Health Organisation (WHO), and Resolve to Save Lives initiative of Vital Strategies.
IHMI aims to strengthen the cardiovascular disease component of the Health Ministry’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 primary goal of this project is to reduce morbidity and mortality due to CVDs, the leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for CVDs among adults in India. 

The IHMI is focused on five essential components of scalable treatment of hypertension. It will support the adoption of standardised simplified treatment plans for managing high blood pressure, ensure the regular and uninterrupted supply of quality-assured medications, task sharing so health workers who are accessible to patients can distribute medications already prescribed by the medical officer, and patient-centered services that reduce the barriers to treatment adherence. Data on hypertension will be improved through streamlined monitoring systems, and the lessons learned and practice-based evidence will inform further interventions to improve cardiovascular care. IHMI will be progressively rolled out in 25 districts in the first two years across districts selected by the Health Ministry for expansion of active screening and intensification of treatment activities for hypertension.Also present at the event were Manoj Jhalani (AS&MD, NHM), BD Athani (Special DGHS) and Pawan Aggarwal, CEO, FSSAI and Alka Aggarwal Singh, Country Director, Vital Strategies along with the other senior officers of the Ministry and representatives of international development organisations.

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