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Posted at: May 1, 2017, 2:03 AM; last updated: May 1, 2017, 10:09 AM (IST)

India to screen 25 lakh people for hypertension through May

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 30

India is set to embark on the largest-ever screening of its population for hypertension in one go. Starting tomorrow (May 1), the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in association with local collaborators will reach 25 lakh Indians for high blood pressure screening.

“This is the largest-ever screening undertaken in the country for hypertension. India has decided to join an initiative of the World Hypertension League which will screen people across nations for high BP to mark this year’s World Hypertension Day on May 17. Indian target population of 25 lakh is the highest globally,” Dr Meenakshi Sharma, the scientist handling non-communicable diseases in ICMR, told The Tribune today.

India doesn’t have an official national-level estimation of high blood pressure, the silent killer responsible for 10 per cent of all deaths annually across the world. Available estimations of prevalence come from local studies that cover a section of Indian states at the most.

The ICMR, government’s apex research body, has decided to partner The Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) for the exercise. Only recently, the government had cancelled PHFI’s licence under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act barring it from receiving foreign funds, citing some irregularities. The NGO’s local operations remain unaffected.

“The exercise will be jointly conducted by the ICMR, Public Health Foundation of India and the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Prevention. The aim is to encourage doctors for opportunistic screening of people entering healthcare settings. It is seen that doctors don’t normally screen patients for hypertension and lose the opportunity. Partners have now developed an application for doctors, which they can download on Android and even from the Internet to feed in details of screening and hypertension investigation throughout May,” said Dr Prabhakaran from CCDP and Council Member, International Society of Hypertension.

The screening will happen through May with ICMR calling the activity “May Measurement Month (May 1 to 31) to reach 2.5 million Indians”.

“Current estimates say 40 per cent urban Indians above 30 years are hypertensive and 25 per cent rural population above this age group has high blood pressure. High BP is linked to strokes, heart attacks, heart failures and kidney diseases but 50 per cent of those with hypertension don’t know it,” said Dr Prabhakaran.

Largest-ever exercise

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research has tied up with Public Health Foundation of India to embark on the largest-ever exercise to screen people for the silent killer
  • The screening will happen through May with the ICMR calling the activity “May Measurement Month to reach 2.5 million Indians”. It will get a chance to assess high blood pressure burden in large sample size


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