Experts have raised an alarm over the increasing incidence of hypertension, calling it a silent killer that can add to the burden of disease in a country ravaged by the Covid pandemic. Hypertension or high blood pressure is a serious medical condition that is one of the leading causes of death in the world. After more than a year of the coronavirus pandemic, there is enough evidence that people with high blood pressure are more likely to get severely sick or die if they get Covid, experts have flagged. The discussion was held at a webinar held to commemorate the 72nd foundation day of Family Planning Association of India (FPA India) on 'Expanding the Horizons of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights'.
"India is going through an epidemiological transition. We must act now. Responding to this crisis, we at FPA India have decided to bring decades of experience in strengthening health systems to work on creating more opportunities for identifying care gaps, bringing about inter-sectoral collaboration and pooling resources so that no opportunity is missed to screen, treat and control hypertension, across all age-groups, geographies and socio-economic strata," staid Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General FPA India. Vandana Shah, regional director at Global Health Advocacy Incubator, said, "A high prevalence of hypertension exacts a tremendous price on public health. The pandemic has shown us how people living with chronic conditions like hypertension can become sicker and be more at risk of dying." According to Dr Sonu Goel, Professor, Department of Community Medicine at PGIMER, Chandigarh, "Almost one in five women aged 15-49 years in India has undiagnosed hypertension with implications for personal and reproductive health. We are closely working with the Government of Punjab in controlling this menace through politico-bureaucratic and media advocacy, capacity building of health professionals and generating evidence for policy and practice." The event also marked the launch of 'Project PrACHI- Prioritizing Advocacy for Control of Hypertension in India', a nationwide campaign supported by the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, to accelerate hypertension control and treatment.