Health experts on Monday underscored the need for formulating a roadmap to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs), especially high blood pressure and diabetes, in the country to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
They made the remarks at a virtual programme marking the launch of the 'Strengthening of Hypertension Detection, Treatment and Follow-up at Primary Health Care System by Implementing HEARTS Package in Bangladesh’ programme.Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the programme as the chief guest.
Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh will jointly implement the NHF-RESOLVE Phase II programme in 54 upazilas across the country with the support from Resolve to Save Lives, USA.
Health Services Division Secretary Md Abdul Mannan presided over the virtual inaugural programme where Secretary General of the National Heart Foundation Prof Khondker Abdul Awal (Rizvi) gave the welcome address.
The keynote speech was delivered by Prof Sohel Reza Choudhury, programme director, Hypertension Control Programme, and Head of Department of Epidemiology and Research at the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute.
In his keynote presentation, Sohel Reza said a pilot project has successfully been implemented in four upazilas
of Sylhet.According to the National STEPS Survey for Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factors in Bangladesh 2018, about 21 per cent people aged 18 and above in Bangladesh have high blood pressure and only 11 per cent of them have their blood pressure under control.
But the control rate among patients registered in hospitals under this programme is 48 per cent. So, the programme is being expanded to 54 upazilas of Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Habiganj and Sunamganj of Sylhet division and Kishoreganj of Dhaka and Jamalpur district of Mymensingh division, Sohel Reza added.
He further said under this project, hypertension detection, treatment and follow-up services will be provided at primary health care centres in the selected upazilas. Registered patients will be provided free high blood pressure medication. At the same time, an initiative is being taken to provide medicines from community clinics for patients in remote areas, for whom it is not possible to come to upazila health complexes regularly and take medicines.
Speaking on the occasion, the health minister said regular medicines should be taken to control non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure. He said the government has taken necessary steps to provide medicines regularly.
Zahid Maleque also emphasised on conducting public awareness activities on non-communicable diseases from primary health care centres. At the same time, he underscored the need for checking environmental pollution.
The minister also thanked Resolve to Save Lives for providing technical assistance to the project.
National Prof Brigadier (retd) Abdul Malik, founder and president of National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, said a roadmap should be formulated using the experience gained from this project to prevent non-communicable diseases, especially high blood pressure and diabetes, in all upazilas of the country by 2025 and only then Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved by 2030.
"Unhealthy eating habits and our lifestyle are responsible for non-communicable diseases like high blood pressure," Secretary Mannan said, underling the importance of preventing these diseases rather than treatment.
DGHS Director General Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, DG of the Directorate General of Health Education Prof AHM Enayet Hossain, DGHS Additional Director General (Planning and Development) Prof Dr Meerjadey Sebrina Flora and Prof Dr Mohammad Robed Amin, line director, NCDC of the DGHS, joined the programme.