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Controlling high blood pressure will save millions of lives

High blood pressure is a deadly disease that all too often goes untreated.

Approximately 10 million people die from high blood pressure (hypertension) each year, more than from all infectious diseases combined.

Most people living with high blood pressure have no symptoms. An estimated 1.4 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure, but many do not know that they have the condition.

In low- and middle-income countries, only one in ten people with high blood pressure has it under control.

But there’s good news:

  • Many of these hypertension deaths can be prevented.
  • Reducing blood pressure prevents stroke, heart attack, kidney damage and other health problems.
  • Treatment for high blood pressure is low-cost, safe, simple, and can be integrated into existing primary health care programs.
  • Developing an effective hypertension care program is a pathfinder for strengthening primary health care systems.

Our Goal

To increase global control of blood pressure from 14 to 50 percent, which would prevent more than 640,000 heart disease deaths each year among adults younger than 70.

How we work

We work with global, national and local partners to scale up proven blood pressure control strategies including the World Health Organization’s HEARTS technical package.

Our six step guide to scaling up a hypertension program and FAQ for clinicians treating hypertension highlight our five key strategies: 

Simple, proven treatment protocols

 Practical treatment protocols with specific medications, dosages and action steps for hypertension treatment can streamline care and improve adherence.

See treatment protocol examples from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and watch a short video on why protocols matter.

Team-based care and task sharing

Patient outcomes improve when clinics expand the number of health workers who can manage hypertension according to simple protocols, and when treatment is available at the community level. Our team-based care guide can help program managers implement team-based care for hypertension at the primary care level.  

Access to quality, affordable hypertension medications

Regular, uninterrupted access to affordable and good quality medications is necessary for effective hypertension treatment. Our first-of-its-kind report identifies strategies to improve access to affordable blood pressure medicine in low- and middle-income countries.

Patient-centered care

Patient-centered care can reduce the barriers to blood pressure control. Key strategies are to provide easy-to-take medication regimens, free or low-cost medications and follow-up visits and making blood pressure monitoring and medications readily available in the community near the patient’s home.

Information systems

We are leveraging innovative health information systems that allow for continuous, real-time patient and program monitoring. Simple, a user-friendly mobile application we developed alongside health care workers is a free, fast, open-source electronic health record that replaces paper records, making it faster and easier for providers to track patients’ blood pressure and medications.

Our Work in Action

We’re supporting the development and implementation of evidence-based hypertension control programs in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, plus 22 countries in the PAHO (Latin America and the Caribbean) region.

More than 6 million people have received hypertension care and treatment in these programs since the launch of Resolve to Save Lives in 2017.

Blood pressure measurement in India, Thailand and China

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we supported our partners as they adapted hypertension care delivery so patients could continue to receive the lifesaving medications and routine follow-ups to manage their blood pressure.

We supported the Nigeria HISP team for the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health, the University of Oslo, WHO Nigeria, and the World Health Organization to develop a new hypertension control package for the District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2)—a free, open-source health management data platform.

Pharmacist in Thailand

Where We Work: Hypertension Control

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