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Controlling Hypertension Crucial for Heart Health:  Speakers at World Heart Day Webinar

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Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) claim more than 20 million lives worldwide every year, with hypertension being one of the major contributing factors. The prevalence of heart disease and the number of deaths attributed to it are increasing in Bangladesh despite 80 percent of such fatalities being preventable. The risk of hypertensive heart disease can be reduced to a great extent by leading a healthy lifestyle, ensuring the supply of hypertension medicine at the grassroots level, and by increasing the budget allocation in this sector. On the occasion of World Heart Day 2023, public health experts and heart specialists highlighted these issues at a webinar titled “Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Bangladesh and Way Forward”, organized by research and advocacy organization PROGGA (Knowledge for Progress) with support from Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) on Saturday, September 30.

It was informed at the webinar that one in every four adults in Bangladesh is suffering from hypertension. According to the first Global Report on Hypertension 2023 by the World Health Organization (WHO), 273,000 people die of cardiovascular diseases every year in Bangladesh and 54 percent of these fatalities are attributable to hypertension. The report also revealed that half of the individuals (aged 30–79 years) with hypertension are not even aware of their condition. The rate of those receiving medical treatment for hypertension is concerningly low, a mere 38 percent. Moreover, only 15 percent, or 1 in every 7 individuals have been able to keep their condition under control by taking regular medication.

Professor Dr. Sohel Reza Choudhury, Head of the Department of Epidemiology & Research, National Heart Foundation informed at the webinar, “Hypertension is one of the leading causes of deaths associated with non-communicable diseases. The prevalence of heart diseases can be reduced to a great extent by keeping hypertension under control.”

Dr Farzana Akter Dorin, National Professional Officer, WHO Bangladesh Office, said “The risk of developing heart diseases can be reduced by strengthening the primary health care system and ensuring free hypertension medicine.”

Muhammad Ruhul Quddus, Bangladesh Country Lead of GHAI said, “Implementation of the decision to provide hypertension medicine from Community Clinic is crucial to combat the prevalence of heart diseases.”

ABM Zubair, Executive Director of PROGGA was also present at the event as one of the discussants. The keynote presentation on hypertensive heart diseases and the needful was delivered by Hasan Shahriar, Head of Programs, PROGGA. The webinar was moderated by PROGGA’s Coordinator Sadia Galiba Prova. People of different professions from different regions of the country participated in the webinar.

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