World Health Organisation (WHO) says the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted essential health services for Hypertension globally thus creating an urgent need to redirect focus on the chronic illness, 263Chat has learnt.
According to WHO 1.1 billion people globally are living with hypertension making it one of the major silent killers.
In his submissions on the commemorations of the World Hypertension Day early this week, WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said while global attention is on the Covid-19 pandemic there is need to also focus on hypertension as people living with the condition are at higher risk of death once they contract the virus.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted essential health services for hypertension in over half of the world’s countries. Investment in hypertension management is more urgent than ever,” he said.
“Hypertension is one of the world’s silent killers. But it does not have to be. It is within our reach to prevent, diagnose and treat,” said Dr Tedros.
Like COVID-19, the hypertension epidemic is hitting the world’s most vulnerable the hardest.Nine out of 10 people with hypertension don’t have it under control, and 2 in 5 people with hypertension are not aware they have it.
Experts have noted that cases of hypertension have increased during the pandemic with the imposition of strict lock-downs globally which led to job losses.
Too many people die young from cardiovascular disease, because of delayed, incomplete or interrupted treatment of high blood pressure.
“We are seeing a rise in behavioral risk factors, such as physical inactivity, diets high in salt, fat and sugar, and harmful use of alcohol,” he added
To support countries to take action against cardiovascular diseases, WHO and our partners at the US CDC, Resolve and others have developed the HEARTS package, which outlines the six key ingredients for addressing threats to heart health, including hypertension.