The government’s recent decision to include the medicine for hypertension in the drug list of Community Clinic is a landmark step in tackling hypertension at the grassroots level. Speedy implementation of this decision is essential to effectively control hypertension-related non-communicable diseases and deaths associated with it across the country by ensuring free anti-hypertensive medicine for the marginalized population. At the same time, budget must be increased in this sector to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the medicine at Community Clinic and Upazila Health Complex. Speakers highlighted these issues at a workshop for journalists titled “Hypertension Control in Bangladesh” held at the capital’s BMA Bhaban on Tuesday, October 31. The workshop was organized by research and advocacy organization PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) with support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI). Twenty-two journalists working in print, television and online media participated in the workshop.
It was informed at the workshop that one in every four adults in Bangladesh is suffering from hypertension. According to WHO’s first Global Report on Hypertension 2023, the rate of treated people with hypertension is only 38 percent. The report also revealed that 2 lakh 73 thousand people died of cardiovascular disease in 2019 in Bangladesh and 54 percent of these fatalities were attributable to hypertension.
Md. Zakir Hossain, Deputy General Manager (Sales & Marketing) of Essential Drugs Company Limited (EDCL) informed at the workshop, “ The availability of hypertension medicine from all Community Clinics will be ensured from the upcoming fiscal year.”
Dr Shamim Jubayer, Program Manager, Hypertension Control Program, National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute said, “Simply reducing salt intake can greatly reduce the risk of hypertension.”
It may be mentioned that according to the report of WHO, 4 out of every 5 people with hypertension are not adequately treated. However, 7.6 crore deaths could be averted by 2050 if treatment facilities are scaled up.
Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Bangladesh Country Lead of GHAI; Obaidul Kabir, Executive Editor, Daily Janakantha; and ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA were also present at the event as discussants.