Workshop on Rising Burden of NCDs & Prevention and Care of Hypertension in Guwahati

It is estimated that one in every four adults in India has hypertension and the situation is no different in Assam. The prevalence of hypertension is found to be high in Assam, while the awareness is quite low especially in rural Assam. 

These alarming facts are came to light in a workshop on rising burden of NCDs & prevention and care of Hypertension organized by Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum (CLPF) with the support of Consumer VOICE, New Delhi on 30th August, 2023 at Hotel Riviera, Guwahati.

In his inaugural speech, Dr. Nakul Shyam, Additional Director of Health Services, Govt. of Assam said that regular screening has been prioritized by the state government and which has helped us to identify areas especially rural areas where there is high prevalence of hypertensive individuals with low level of awareness. It is important to strengthen the screening process and include ASHA workers and health care workers proactively.

In the workshop, Dr. Rahul K. Sharma, State Programme Officer – NCD, National Health Mission spoke on ‘NCD control in Assam with specific reference to hypertension’; Dr. Mousumi Krishnatreya, Associate Professor, Community Medicine, Gauhati Medical College shared a wonderful presentation on ‘Treatment adherence – Key to Hyperbaton Management’. Dr. Jitumoni Kalita, Cardiologist, Down Town Hospital, Guwahati highlighted the importance on ‘Hypertension management to reducing strokes and heart attacks’ and Dr. Hrisikesh Sarma, Karyakarta, National Medicos Organisation spoke on role of primary health care centres in prevention and control of NCDs and hypertension.

All experts stressed on early detection and treatment of hypertension and making lifestyle modifications to control blood pressure. Most Indians are not aware that they are suffering from hypertension. This leads to increased cases of stroke and cardiac arrest. As a result even young adults in India are falling prey to serious cardiovascular diseases.

Moderating the workshop, Advocate Ajoy Hazarika, Secretary, Consumers’ Legal Protection Forum, Assam informed that as per the recent National Family Health Survey 5, prevalence of hypertension among women in rural areas is 20.2 per cent and 22.7 per cent among men. Nineteen percent of women age 15-49 in Assam have hypertension. 20 percent of men in Assam have hypertension. “So it is not a case only of the urban areas but also of the rural areas of Assam, “ says Ajoy Hazarika.

Nilanjana Bose, Project Lead Consumer VOICE said that according to the WHO, nearly 27 per cent of deaths in India are attributed to cardiovascular diseases (CVD) which affect close to 45 per cent people in the 40-69 age group. High blood pressure is among the most important risk factors for CVDs. Besides, there is low awareness about hypertension, lack of appropriate care through primary care, besides poor follow-up. 

The workshop was attended by more than 100 participants including the representatives of Senior Citizen and Women organizations, Consumer Groups, Officials of Health Departments, Govt. of Assam, youth, students and faculties from different educational institutions, media, CSOs and social activists.

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