DOH, PSH launch program to curb hypertension prevalence

TAGAYTAY CITY, Cavite – The Department of Health (DOH) has partnered with the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) for a joint project initiative aimed at addressing the increasing prevalence of hypertension and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Cavite province.

The program, Cardiovascular Risk Assessment and Management Initiative, which is anchored on DOH’s Package of Non-Communicable Disease Interventions (PhilPEN) initiative, was officially launched before cardiologists from the public and private sectors at the Taal Vista Hotel here Friday.

In his keynote address, DOH-4A (Calabarzon) Director Dr. Eduardo C. Janairo stressed that “the greater progress in addressing cardiovascular diseases can be achieved through the cooperation of different sectors.”

Janairo added that while it can be seen that NCDs are driven both by health and non-health variables, the health sector cannot adequately prevent and control these diseases on its own and a multi-sectoral approach (MSA) is required to establish enabling environments in the community.

“So that healthy choices become the most attractive choice,” he said.

Due to the high cost of diagnosis and treatment of hypertension and NCDs, Janairo said a strategic approach to these diseases relies on early detection and care using cost-effective and sustainable health care intervention that are integrated in the primary health care facilities, such as the barangay health stations, rural health and other community health centers.

“We see our future focusing more on prevention, especially on the four modifiable behavioral risk factors – unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol, and tobacco use,” he said.

The joint project, set to pilot in Cavite province, is seen to result in more Filipinos being assessed, screened and diagnosed early to prevent debilitating and sometimes fatal complications.

“Once successful (in its pilot run), we shall look forward to its duplication in the whole Region 4 (Calabarzon and Mimaropa) and eventually in the entire nation,” PSH president Dr. Alberto A. Atillano said.

The program seeks to bring down the diseases’ prevalence by 3 percent in the next five years.

Hypertension prevalence in adult population (18 years old and above) in the Philippines increased from 11 percent in 1992 to 28 percent in 2013, with high incidence reported in Cavite.

Based on DOH data released in 2009, cardiovascular disease remains one of the leading causes of death in the country, with 170,000 Filipinos dying each year.

Heart attack and stroke are the top killer diseases in the country while 60 percent to 70 percent of Filipinos have not been treated or have seen a cardiologist, according to 2016 data from the Philippine Heart Association.

During the launch, the participants were treated with lectures on the matter.

The participants in the forum, composed of cardiologists from the public and private sectors, expressed their commitment of support for this health initiative. Gladys Pino/PNA –