In order to safeguard the hypertensive population in Bangladesh, the government has recently taken a decision to include the medicine for hypertension in the drug list of Community Clinic. Speedy implementation of this decision can play an important role in ensuring free anti-hypertensive medicine for the marginalized population along with controlling the growing prevalence of hypertension-related non-communicable diseases. At the same time, necessary budget must be allocated to ensure an uninterrupted supply of the medicine at Community Clinic and Upazila Health Complex. These information and recommendations were highlighted at a virtual workshop for journalists titled “Hypertension Control in Bangladesh” on 18th November 2023. The workshop was organized by research and advocacy organization PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) with support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI). Twenty-nine journalists from Sylhet division working in print, electronic, and online media houses participated in the workshop.
It was informed at the workshop that one in every four adults in Bangladesh is suffering from hypertension. Ensuring availability of free hypertension medicines at community clinic level can be a cost-effective approach in this regard. It may be mentioned that the program of providing hypertension medicine from the Community Clinic initially began in Sylhet district and the government recently took the initiative to expand it nationwide.
Currently patients are given one month’s medicine from the NCD corner of the Upazila Health Complexes. It was further informed at the workshop that it would be possible to save many lives and prevent heart attacks and strokes at a low cost if 2-3 months’ medicine could be prescribed at a time along with ensuring the availability of hypertension medicines at Community Clinic.
The key-note presentation on hypertension control was delivered by Dr Shamim Jubayer, Program Manager, Hypertension Control Program, National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute and Sadia Galiba Prova, Coordinator, Hypertension Control and Trans Fat Elimination Project, PROGGA. Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Bangladesh Country Lead of GHAI and ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA was present at the workshop as the discussant.