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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Experts urge to improve cardiovascular health by strengthening primary healthcare

  • ‘Primary healthcare can be ensured through increasing allocation in the health budget’
  • ‘24.6% of adults who are above 18 years old suffer from hypertension’
  • “In Bangladesh, one out of every four adults has hypertension’
Update : 02 Mar 2024, 07:53 PM

Health experts have urged to improve cardiovascular health in Bangladesh by strengthening primary healthcare. 

Primary healthcare can be ensured through increasing allocation in the health budget, they said at an event. 

The event titled "Improving Cardiovascular Health in Bangladesh" was organized by the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB), PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), and Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL) at InterContinental Dhaka in the capital on Saturday. 

In Bangladesh, 24.6% of adults who are above 18 years old suffer from hypertension. But just 14% of hypertension people can control their blood pressure. Following WHO worldwide targets, the government of Bangladesh's multisectoral action plan for the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) seeks to lower the prevalence of high blood pressure by 25% by 2025, according to Bangladesh hypertension control initiatives.

The image shows a glimpse of the event titled `Improving Cardiovascular Health in Bangladesh` organized by the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB), PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress), Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), and Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL) in Dhaka on Saturday, March 2, 2024. Photo: Dhaka Tribune

“In Bangladesh, one out of every four adults has hypertension. Bangladesh has made rapid progress in preventing deaths from infectious diseases. Now the country can also be a world leader in preventing heart attacks and strokes. Bangladesh has made dramatic progress by increasing 20-fold the number of patients on treatment while also doubling the quality of treatment. Investing in the strengthening of primary care services to provide blood pressure treatment can prevent heart attacks and strokes, saving many lives,” said Dr Tom Frieden, president and CEO of RTSL and former Director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are many people in Bangladesh having high blood pressure. High blood pressure is the world’s leading cause of premature death. The RTSL helps countries to build simple, scalable, lifesaving programs that streamline hypertension treatment and make it easier for patients to control their high blood pressure.

In this regard, Dr Frieden said that there is a huge importance in measuring blood pressure as hypertension has no symptoms. Blood pressure causes hypertension. “We need to measure blood pressure.”

“Substantial progress has been made over the past several years with the Bangladesh Hypertension Control Initiative,” said Professor Dr Sohel Reza Choudhury, head of the Department of Epidemiology & Research, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh.

There are also many younger people who are having heart disease in Bangladesh. In countries like Bangladesh, younger people are having heart disease like 30, 40 or 50 years old. A lot of young people have heart disease. It is undermining health, economic and social development," said Dr Frieden.

Together with its partners, GHAI promotes better cardiovascular health in Bangladesh. 

“Health programs must be comprehensive," GHAI's Bangladesh Country Lead Muhammad Ruhul Quddus stated.

Highlighting sodium as one of the major risk factors for hypertension, Frieden said: “Government policies can reduce sodium intake and prevent hypertension. Globally, excess sodium consumption leads to almost two million deaths each year. Four out of five of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.”

RTSL collaborated with NHFB on formative research to improve the front-of-package label policy that will save lives and also improve nutrition. 

They conducted 12 focus group discussions to identify the best warning design to help the consumers identify unhealthy packaged foods high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat.

“We are working with the media to improve public health. We all know hypertension is increasing day by day. Through our work it has also improved”, said ABM Zubair, executive director of PROGGA.

ABM Zubair delivered the closing remark at the event.

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