High blood pressure (hypertension) kills more people than any other condition. According to a Global Burden of Disease Study from 2017, a more than from all infectious diseases combined. Reducing blood pressure prevents stroke, heart attack, kidney damage and other health problems.
An estimated 1.4 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure, but only one has it under control. Health providers in high- and low-income countries, urban and rural areas and across different health systems have shown that blood pressure control can be achieved. Canada has reached nearly 70% control nationwide, and India, Bangladesh and Vietnam have shown it is possible to increase control rates rapidly.
For more detailed guides on our approach to hypertension control, visit LINKScommunity.org
Our approach to preventing and reversing high blood pressure
Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL) believes in speed, simplicity and scale. We work with global, national and local partners to help scale up proven strategies to improve control of high blood pressure, including:
Simple, proven treatment protocols
Practical treatment protocols with specific medications, dosages and action steps for managing uncontrolled blood pressure can streamline care and improve adherence.
Community-based care and task-sharing
Patient outcomes will improve when clinics expand the number of health workers who can provide, adjust and intensify blood pressure medication regimens per physician orders and protocols, and when treatment is available at the community-level.
Access to quality, affordable medications
It is critical to get the right blood pressure medications to the right place at the right time to reach the patients who need them. Regular, uninterrupted access to medication is necessary for effective treatment.
Patient-centered care can reduce the barriers to blood pressure control. Key strategies are to provide easy-to-take medication regimens, offer free or low-cost medications and follow-up visits and make blood pressure monitoring readily available.
We are leveraging technology to develop information systems that allow for continuous, real-time program monitoring and improvement. Effective technology can help determine how hypertension patients and their providers are doing and catalyze rapid improvements.
What we're doing
The World Health Organization (WHO) created the HEARTS technical package to promote a consistent, proven treatment methodology for hypertensive patients. Countries are choosing and adapting the appropriate protocol from HEARTS for their local context. Numerous factors must align to develop and launch effective hypertension control programs, so we are working with countries to help make this happen.
In January 2018, the state of Punjab in India became our first program partner to implement HEARTS in the public sector, enabling all adult patients to get blood pressure screenings and doctors to be trained on an easy-to-follow treatment algorithm. Since then, RTSL-supported programs have been launched in 21 countries, enrolling more than three million people in hypertension.
RTSL is supporting the development of data monitoring systems to improve the efficacy of hypertension treatment projects. For example, in collaboration with partners, we developed Simple, a user-friendly mobile application that allows healthcare workers to record blood pressure results, blood sugar levels and prescribed medications at every patient visit, using a web-based dashboard that officials and health system managers can monitor to assess hypertension control across facilities and regions. We also are working with WHO and the University of Oslo to develop a new module of District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2)—a free, open-source health management data platform—for hypertension and diabetes.