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Press release

​Ministry of Health Announces Life-Saving Program to Reduce Blood Pressure in Sri Lanka

New York, USA - March 15, 2021

1 in 4 adults in Sri Lanka at increased risk of heart attack and stroke from hypertension

March 15, 2021 – Colombo, Sri Lanka. Today, the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health announced plans to address a growing threat to the heart health of Sri Lankans: high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The new program, which will begin in the Western Province, will improve management of hypertension using a new electronic data collection system.

“High blood pressure is a silent but formidable threat to the health of Sri Lankans,” said Dr. Champika Wickramasinghe, Deputy Director General (NCD). “With this initiative, we can better prevent and manage hypertension, saving generations of Sri Lankans from the burden of high blood pressure, heart disease, and early death.”

Hypertension causes heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease, but it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. More than one in four adults are hypertensive in Sri Lanka, yet hypertension remains widely under detected, undertreated, and poorly controlled.

This new program of hypertension management focuses on employing evidence-based and algorithmic treatments for hypertension, while building a patient-centered model of care and increasing use of data for quality improvement to allow health care workers to deliver higher quality care to patients. With this new intervention, more Sri Lankans will be guaranteed service availability with easy and affordable access to quality health services.

A complementary part of the initiative will focus on preventing hypertension by promoting salt reduction in daily diets. Sodium is one of the most important risk factors for the development of hypertension. To address salt consumption, a campaign to encourage healthy salt consumption will be developed and evaluated.

The program is part of the Government of Sri Lanka’s commitment to better manage noncommunicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, which account for 83% of deaths in Sri Lanka.

This program was designed using the World Health Organization’s HEARTS technical package, which is used around the world to improve cardiovascular disease management in primary health care settings.

“This project has a huge potential to dramatically improve hypertension care delivery within a strong primary care model,”said Dr. Andrew Moran, Director, Global Hypertension Control Program, Resolve to Save Lives, an Initiative of Vital Strategies. “Providing accessible, quality hypertension care closer to communities will enable better hypertension diagnosis and control, and promote better heart health for Sri Lankans.”

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is an initiative of the global health organization Vital Strategies focused on preventing 100 million deaths from heart disease and making the world safer from epidemics. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL.