The Health Ministers of the South East Asian Region on Tuesday adopted the ‘New Delhi Declaration on High Blood Pressure’, aiming to prevent and control high blood pressure and strive towards measurable reduction in the prevalence of hypertension in the region by 2025.
India hosted the 31st meeting of the Health Ministers of the WHO South-East Asia Region in New Delhi.
The ministers reviewed the progress on decisions and recommendations from previous meetings of Health Ministers, according to a message received here.
Hypertension is the leading risk factor for mortality worldwide, causing 9 million deaths each year. In South-East Asia, every third adult is affected by hypertension, with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
In Bangladesh, around 12 million people are affected by hypertension, says WHO.
The New Delhi Declaration on High Blood Pressure was adopted in recognition of the fact that while non-communicable diseases account for 55 percent of the 14.5 million total deaths in the region; cardiovascular diseases alone account for 25 percent of all deaths (3.6 million).
The ministers voiced concern that delays in diagnosis and limited access to treatment can have catastrophic consequences for the poor.
Through the New Delhi Declaration, ministers committed to developing multi-sectoral policies to promote physical activity and healthy diet and reduce exposure to tobacco and harmful use of alcohol; implement national salt reduction strategies, regulate the food industry including food labelling, and reduction of salt in processed foods; legislate for 100 percent tobacco smoke-free settings; and promote universal access to prevention, treatment and care for the integrated management of non-communicable diseases, including hypertension, through a primary health care approach.
Health Ministers from 11 South-East Asian countries, including Bangladesh Health Minister Dr AFM Ruhal Haque, were present at the meeting.