World Health Day 2013: calls for intensified efforts to prevent and control hypertension

World Health Day 2013 poster

To celebrate this year’s World Health Day taking place on 7 April, the World Health Organization is calling for increased efforts to prevent and control hypertension- or high blood pressure. Hypertension is estimated to affect more than a third of adults aged 25 and above, accounting for about a billion people worldwide and contributes to nearly 9.4 million deaths from cardiovascular diseases each year.

WHO is calling for adults to get tested for high blood pressure and also learn about how to reduce the risks of high blood pressure. WHO’s campaign to encourage people to measure their blood pressure is a response to the United Nations Political Declaration on Noncommunicable Diseases, which was adopted by Heads of State and Government in September 2011. The Declaration commits countries to make greater efforts to promote public awareness campaigns to further the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke, cancers, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases.

The prevalence of hypertension is highest in Africa (46% of adults) while the lowest prevalence is found in the Americas (35% of adults). Overall, high-income countries have a lower prevalence of hypertension (35% of adults) than low -and -middle income groups (40% of adults) – thanks to successful multisectoral public policies, and better access to health care.

Clearly, once again through the theme of World Health Day 2013, we are made to recognize the vitality of the health workforce and their contribution to health systems. Health workers decrease the number of needless deaths and suffering from preventable diseases such as hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases. The world needs more of them!