The government has recently taken a landmark decision to include the medicine for hypertension in the drug list of Community Clinics 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 Clinics and Upazila Health Complexes.
Speakers highlighted these issues at a workshop for journalists titled "Hypertension Control in Bangladesh" held at the capital's BMA Bhaban on Monday.
The workshop was organised 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.
Physicians said that one in every four adults in Bangladesh is suffering from hypertension. According to World Health Organisation's (WHO) 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 Bangladesh in 2019, and 54 percent of these fatalities were attributed to hypertension.
Md Zakir Hossain, Deputy General Manager (Sales & Marketing) of Essential Drugs Company Limited (EDCL) said, "The availability of hypertension medicine from Community Clinic will be ensured from the next fiscal year."
Dr Malay Kanti Mridha, Professor of Public Health and Director of the Center for Non-Communicable Diseases 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."
According to WHO report 4 out of 5 people with hypertension are not adequately treated. However, 7.6 crore deaths could be averted worldwide 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 took part in discussion. The key-note paper on hypertension control was presented by Dr Shamim Jubayer, Programme Manager, Hypertension Control Programme, National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute and Sadia Galiba Prova, Project Coordinator, Hypertension Control and Trans Fat Elimination Project, PROGGA, took part in the discussion.