In a significant achievement and recognition to country’s efforts against hypertension, India has won an UN award for its “India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI)”, a large-scale hypertension intervention under National Health Mission. IHCI has been recognized for its exceptional work within India’s existing primary healthcare system.
Complimenting the healthcare initiative, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare stated in a tweet: “IHCI has strengthened PM @NarendraModi Ji’s mission to ensure health & wellness for all”. We are committed to building a healthy & fit India, he further noted.
A collaborative initiative of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), State Governments and World Health Organization-India, IHCI has won the ‘2022 UN Interagency Task Force, and WHO Special Program on Primary Health Care Award’ at the UN General Assembly side event held on 21st September 2022 at New York, USA. The award recognizes outstanding commitment and action of India to: (i) prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and (ii) deliver integrated people-centric primary care. The UN Task Force has identified organisation which has multisectoral approach in prevention and control of NCDs and multisectoral action with demonstrated results at primary care for prevention and control of NCDs and related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Significance of the initiative can be adjudged from the fact that one in four adults in India has high blood pressure. The control of hypertension at primary care system level will contribute to reducing deaths due to heart attacks, stroke and kidney failures.
IHCI has been able to leverage and strengthen the existing healthcare delivery system, hypertension control interventions under National Health Mission and improve the linkages between populations-based screening initiative with health care. The initiative was launched in 2017 and expanded in a phased manner to cover more than 130 districts across 23 states. Under the initiative, more than 34 lakh people with hypertension are taking treatment in government health facilities, including Ayushman Bharat Health Wellness Centres (HWCs). The project strategies are easily scalable within the health system. The strategies include a simple drug-dose-specific standard treatment protocol, ensuring adequate quantity of protocol medications, decentralization of care with follow-up and refills of medicines at Health Wellness Centres, task sharing involving all health staff and a powerful real-time information system which can track every patient for follow-up and blood pressure control. Under IHCI, nearly half of those who were treated had blood pressure under control.
The IHCI complements the National Program for Prevention and Control of Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. IHCI accelerates the achievement of targets of the Government of India by ensuring a continuum of care and giving a boost to the ongoing “Ayushman Bharat” program.