Health Minister Zahid Maleque has inaugurated 'Strengthening of Hypertension Detection, Treatment and Follow-up at Primary Health Care System by implementing the HEARTS package in Bangladesh (NHF-RESOLVE Phase II) programme today 8 February.
The inauguration programme was held online.
Non-Communicable Disease Control Program of DGHS and National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh will jointly implement the programme in 54 upazillas with the support from RESOLVE to Save Lives, USA.
Secretary of the Health Services Department, MoHFW Abdul Mannan presided over the programme and Secretary General of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh Prof Khondker Abdul Awal (Rizvi) gave a welcome address. The keynote address was delivered by Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, program director at Hypertension Control Programme, and head of Department of Epidemiology and Research at the National Heart Foundation Hospital.
In the keynote presentation, he said that the project has been successfully completed as a pilot in four upazilas of Sylhet. According to the National STEPS Survey for Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factors in Bangladesh 2018, about 21% of people aged 18 and over in Bangladesh have high blood pressure and only 11% of them have their blood pressure under control. But the control rate among the patients registered in the hospital under this programme is 48%. So, the programme is expanded in 54 upazilas of Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Sunamganj of Sylhet division; Kishoreganj in Dhaka division and Jamalpur district in Mymensingh division.
He further said that under this project, hypertension detection, treatment and follow-up services will be provided at primary health care centers in 54 upazilas. Registered patients will be provided free high blood pressure medication from the government. At the same time, initiative is being taken to provide medicines from the community clinic to the patients in remote areas, for whom it is not possible to come to the Upazila Health Complex regularly and take medicines.
Speaking as the chief guest, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said that regular medicines should be taken to control non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure. Therefore, the government has taken necessary steps to provide medicines continuously. He also emphasized on conducting public awareness activities on non-communicable diseases from primary health care centers. At the same time, he emphasized on preventing environmental pollution. He also thanked Resolve to Save Lives for providing technical assistance to the project.
National Professor Brigadier (Retd.) Abdul Malik, Founder and President of National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, said that a roadmap should be formulated using the experience gained from this project to prevent non-communicable diseases, especially high blood pressure and diabetes in all upazilas of the country by 2025. Control programs can be expanded. Only then can the Sustainable Development Goals- SDGs be achieved by 2030.
"Unhealthy eating habits and our lifestyle are responsible for non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure," said Abdul Mannan, secretary of the health services department. Therefore, the emphasis should be on prevention of these diseases rather than treatment.
National Professor Brigadier (Retd.) Abdul Malik, Founder and President of National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, Prof. Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, Director General, DGHS; Prof. AHM Enayet Hossain, Director General, Directorate of Health Education; Additional Director General of the Department of Health (Planning and Development) Prof. Mirjadee Sebrina Flora and Professor Mohammad Robed Amin, Line Director, NCDC joined the programme as special guest.