New Delhi [India], September 28 (ANI): India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Thailand have taken steps to eliminate trans-fatty acids from their national food supplies, potentially benefiting over 1.7 billion people, according to World Health Organization's Regional Director for South-East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh.
Several countries in the South-East Asia Region including India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Timor-Leste, have set national targets to enhance hypertension and diabetes management in primary health care by 2025, in line with the SEAHEARTS initiative of placing 100 million people with hypertension and or diabetes on protocol -based management by 2025, she said.
India's target of reaching 75 million people with hypertension and diabetes under standard care by 2025 is the largest cover of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) for primary health care in the world, as per a statement released by the WHO.
The SEAHEARTS (WHO HEARTS package adaptation to South-East Asia Region) initiative of the region, brings together measures to reduce risk factors (tobacco control, salt reduction, and trans-fatty acids) with improvements in hypertension and diabetes coverage and control in primary health care.
The statement by Khetrapal comes ahead of World Heart Day, a global event that occurs on September 29. On this day, The World Heart Federation and its partners raise awareness of Cardiovascular diseases.
Khetrapal said World Heart Day provides an opportunity for WHO and its member states to join the global call to raise awareness about heart health and accelerate actions to prevent, detect and manage cardiovascular diseases.
The WHO South-East Asia Region is home to a quarter of the world's population. The region is experiencing a very high burden of NCDs, and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are responsible for 3.9 million annual deaths, making up 30 per cent of all deaths. Alarmingly, almost half (48 per cent) of these CVD-related deaths occurred prematurely, affecting individuals aged 30 to 70 years and imposing significant socioeconomic burdens on families, communities, and countries, as per the WHO.
The main causes of the burden of CVD include modifiable lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets especially high salt intake, and lack of physical activity. Raised blood pressure and raised blood glucose levels are key drivers and they can be detected, diagnosed, and managed adequately in primary care.
One in four adults in the region has raised blood pressure, while one in ten has diabetes, and less than 15 per cent are on effective treatment coverage. Additionally, high levels of lipids in the blood and suboptimal management of acute cardiovascular events further worsen CVD mortality, Khetrapal said, as per the WHO statement.
NCDs have been identified as a Regional Flagship priority since 2014. In 2022, the region adopted the 'Implementation Roadmap for accelerating the prevention and control of NCD in South-East Asia 2022-2030.' (ANI)