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Hypertension medicine from Community Clinic vital to combat non-communicable diseases

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The government has recently taken a landmark decision to include the medicine for hypertension in the drug list of Community Clinic to combat hypertension. Speedy implementation of this decision is essential to effectively control the growing prevalence and death from hypertension-related non-communicable diseases nationwide. At the same time, necessary budget must be allocated 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 Monday, September 25. The workshop was organized by research and advocacy organization PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) with support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI). Twenty-four 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 very low, a mere 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 Community Clinic will be ensured from the upcoming fiscal year.”

Dr. Malay Kanti Mridha, Professor of Public Health and Director of the Center for Non-Communicable Disease and Nutrition at BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health said, “Dietary and lifestyle modifications must be integrated into daily routine to keep hypertension under control.”

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, Reaz Ahmed, Executive Editor, Dhaka Tribune and ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA were also present at the event as discussants. 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, Project Coordinator, Hypertension Control and Trans Fat Elimination Project, PROGGA.

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