World Hypertension Day 2022 – “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”
World Hypertension Day 2022 is being observed under the theme: “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”. On this day, the Ministry of Health seeks to bring awareness to this disease and highlight the strategic interventions and approaches being utilised to prevent and manage those living with hypertension.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death in the Americas and hypertension (High Blood Pressure) accounts for over 50% of CVDs. Of these deaths, 80% are due to heart attacks and strokes, and over three quarters occur in low- and middle-income countries where the economic and social burden is highest amongst poor and disadvantaged groups.
The risk factors for CVDs include behavioural factors: such as tobacco use, an unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol and inadequate physical activity, as well as physiological factors: including high blood pressure (hypertension), high blood cholesterol and high blood sugar or glucose which are linked to underlying social determinants and drivers. Millions of people worldwide struggle to control the risk factors that lead to cardiovascular diseases especially since many are unaware that they are at high risk but with the strategic interventions, improvements in prevention and treatment have led to decreases in the rates of CVDs across the world.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) through the Chronic Disease Unit continues to work to ensure that early diagnosis, treatment along with management are prioritised at the primary health care level.
The MoH in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) has initiated the implementation of the HEARTS Technical Package which will help our health care professionals to better treat and manage hypertension thereby avoiding cardiovascular complications.
HEARTS is a technical package for cardiovascular disease management in primary health care which has been adopted by all entire Latin America and many Caribbean countries. This acronym is as follows:
H – Healthy lifestyle
E – Evidence-based treatment protocols
A – Access to essential medicines and technology
R – Risk-based management
T – Team care and task-sharing
S – Systems for monitoring
The HEARTS technical package will provide effective, practical interventions for strengthening the management of risk factors for CVDs in primary health care and aims to prevent cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) by ensuring reasonable access to continuous, standardized and high-quality care for people at high risk.
This initiative also responds to the agreement that sustainable, effective action is urgently required to prevent cardiovascular diseases in Guyana and thousands of lives could be saved through the implementation of this package in our country.
The Chronic Diseases Unit of the Ministry of Health has already launched the HEARTS package at five Health Centres across Region Four (Mahaica- Demerara).
The Unit in collaboration with PAHO is working on launching and implementing this initiative at eight pilot sites with 80 additional sites (across the 10 regions) by the end of 2022.