On July 31, 2019, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) announced expansion of their programme India Hypertension Control Initiative (ICHI) together in collaboration with WHO and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.1
The first ICHI was launched in November 2017 with the aim to control the cases of heart attack and other serious disorder related to high blood pressure or hypertension. The programme also aimed to reduce death and disability related to cardiovascular diseases. According to data published by ICMR, Hypertension is the major reason of up to 10.8% of all deaths in India. Prior to this expansion of ICHI the programme enrolled about three lakh patients with hypertension as their present condition. The programme was initiated in 25 selected districts of India in states of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, and Maharashtra. However, the current expansion programme will extend to 100 districts in India. This expansion will cover almost all the states of India. The major goal/objective of the expansion is to improve the quality of hypertension treatment among 15 crore population over the period of next 4 years.
Major contributions of expanded IHCI in strengthening the health system
- Hypertension treatment protocols to simplify quality patient care in the primary care facilities, prioritizing adequate quantity of quality medicine and blood pressure monitors
- Comprehensive training for healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, ANM, mid-level health care providers) on latest practices on hypertension.
- Focusing on team-based care to involve nurses, health workers and ASHAs for counseling and follow up of the patients and to improve adherence to treatment.
- Patient-centered services to improve patient support, reduce reliance on bigger hospitals far away from the patient's home, increase the utilization of "Health and wellness centers" and primary health centers and reduce the travel and expenditure on medicines.
- Easy-to-use information systems strengthen the culture of accountability and continuous improvement which can be applied to other health conditions as well.
- Monitoring of all the health facilities and prompt feedback to the program managers to bridge the gaps in a timely manner.2
Note: According to Dr. Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department Health Research and Director General ICMR "Government of India has adopted a national action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases and has set a target for a 25% reduction in high blood pressure by 2025. With approximately 20 crore adult patients with hypertension in India, more support from all quarters will be needed to help the Government achieve this target.
Heart attacks and strokes contribute to maximum number of deaths and high blood pressure or hypertension is the major cause all cardiovascular diseases. Hence, to minimize the related death rate and to provide better treatment option, the government organization is taking control initiatives that can prevent the severity and death cases due to this disease. Expansion of ICHI programme of ICMR is one of its kind of control initiative taken to improve the quality of hypertension treatment.
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