One in every five or 21% of the adult population in Bangladesh is currently suffering from hypertension. Among those affected, 51.3% are unaware that they have high blood pressure.
Moreover, only 14.1% of those undergoing treatment for hypertension have their blood pressure under control, revealed the National STEPS Survey of Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Risk Factor 2018.
Prof Sohel Reza Choudhury, head of Department of Epidemiology and Research at the National Heart Foundation, disclosed the information while presenting the keynote at a webinar organised to mark the World Hypertension Day on Saturday.
Community clinics need to be mobilised to create awareness about high blood pressure at the grassroots level and to expand medical services
National Professor Brigadier (retd) Abdul Malik, founder and president of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, presided over the programme.
At the webinar, Prof Sohel added that excessive salt intake, eating too few fruits and vegetables, an excess of saturated fats and trans-fats in the diet, being overweight, a lack of physical activities, and the consumption of alcohol and tobacco increase the risk of hypertension.
At the event, Directorate General of Health Services' (DGHS) Additional Director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora said, "Community clinics need to be mobilised to create awareness about high blood pressure at the grassroots level and to expand medical services."
"Therefore, each community clinic needs to have at least one active piece of equipment to measure blood pressure. Additionally, people should be encouraged to measure blood pressure at least once a year," she added.
Dr Habibur Rahman, line director (Non Communicable Disease Control) of DGHS, said, "To control high blood pressure, a pilot project titled Diagnosis, Treatment and Follow-up of High Blood Pressure at Primary Health Care Centers is underway in four upazilas of Sylhet at the initiative of the DGHS and National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh. It is being expanded to 50 more upazilas.
According to the National STEPS Survey, 77.2% of people who are suffering from high blood pressure receive medical services at private facilities and 14.1% at government facilities.
Further, 97.5% of people buy their medicine at private outlets.
The World Hypertension Day is celebrated on 17 May every year. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year, the event was celebrated on 17 October globally. This year the theme was "Measure your blood pressure, control it and live longer."