Hypertension (HTN) is among the leading causes of disease burden and mortality in Punjab. It imposes a huge economic burden on society through increase in Out of Pocket Expenditure. Most of the people in rural areas remain undiagnosed for hypertension because of low awareness of the disease.
Hypertension screening at Health and Wellness Centres is an initiative towards awareness of the population, providing treatment and sensitizing people about hypertension through expanded trained staff, diagnostics and medicines.
Defining Hypertension and criteria for diagnosing Hypertension:
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the arteries. High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against the artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Stages in blood pressure are categorized as:
Telemedicine in treating hypertension cases:
During this lockdown phase when physical deployment is a challenge both for health care workers and general population, tele-consultation services have proved to be of utmost importance.
Punjab state government has started this initiative of telemedicine services at 300 Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) in order to provide health care facility in rural and far remote areas that enables people to consult specialists at hub. It would help people not only in accessing specialist at HWCs itself but to avail expanded range of services via tele-consultation using advanced online platform. Hypertension cases are well managed with tele-consultation services and demand for tele-consultation is rising rapidly amongst masses of Punjab.
Community Health Officers (CHOs) will be connecting to the telemedicine hubs for medical advice-based on patient complains, an e-prescription will be issued by the hub medical officers. There will be an expansion of the present initiative, as more health and wellness centres become functional and demand for the services increase.
Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Director of Public Health, Strategic Institute for Public Health Education and Research (SIPHER), said, “The telemedicine initiative taken up by Punjab government has been actively supported by SIPHER along with PGI, Chandigarh and is globally funded by Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI). Going ahead, we will be looking forward to help the Punjab government with the telemedicine initiative by providing them required service”.
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SIPHER in collaboration with PGI is supporting the Punjab government under the expansion of ongoing project “Strengthening of Management of Hypertension Services in Punjab”. The project is aimed at generating awareness regarding the prevalence of NCDs, especially hypertension, in the state of Punjab. Amid the COVID crisis, patients suffering from Non-Communicable Diseases including hypertension are the most vulnerable.