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Beat The Pressure Campaign

20 Oct 2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) released new Guideline for the Pharmacological Treatment of Hypertension in Adults on August 25, 2021. These new guidelines – the first update in 20 years – outline key recommendations for governments, health system managers, and health care workers to effectively treat hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and preventable death. 

Resolve to Save Lives has partnered with the World Heart Federation, the World Hypertension League, and the NCD Alliance to promote the recently released WHO hypertension treatment guidelines and advocate for the rapid adoption of these guidelines in low- and middle-income countries around the world.   

Check back weekly for new resources on hypertension management and tips on how you can get involved in #BeatThePressure campaign to encourage your government to adopt the new guidelines into your country's national treatment plan. Download our social media kit to share with your networks:

Hypertension affects over 1 billion people worldwide. The global health care savings from effective management of blood pressure alone have been estimated at $100 billion per year, yet investment in hypertension programs remains low, especially where resources and staff are limited. Many deaths from hypertension are preventable, but hypertension care remains underfunded and under prioritized. 

Considering that 1 in 7 people with hypertension do not have their blood pressure controlled, identifying, treating, and controlling hypertension must become public health priorities. 

Even after being diagnosed, there are many barriers that make it difficult to live with and manage hypertension - such as complicated treatment protocols, inability to afford medication, and lack of time to return to the health clinic for followup visits. 

One of the key recommendations of the updated WHO hypertension guideline is patient-centered care. To meet each patient's needs, a differentiated service delivery approach is recommended. Controlling blood pressure should be easy, quick, and affordable for the patient, with blood pressure screening convenient to their home and single pill combination (SPC) medications with multi-month refills. 

Most barriers to hypertension control are limitations in the health care system, rather than patient behavior. These are often exacerbated by physician shortages. In most countries, prescription of antihypertensive medication is limited to physicians, straining the healthcare workforce, particularly in LMICs (low-and middle-income countries). 

To combat the physician shortage, hypertension care should adopt a team-based approach, as outlined in the WHO’s updated recommendations. Rather than physicians being responsible for all aspects of hypertension control, task-sharing is recommended to delegate some aspects of treatment to other health care providers (such as nurses, pharmacists, and physician assistants).

Shifting to a simple drug- and dose- specific hypertension treatment algorithm improves blood pressure control and can consolidate the market for quality-assured, essential anti-hypertensive medicines and lower costs. 

  • Increase the accessibility of anti-hypertensive SPCs.
  • Ensure the affordability and quality of all Essential Medicines List drugs. 
  • Prescribe multi-month refills of medications for patients with controlled blood pressure.

Hypertension must be treated as an urgent public health priority to effectively control it on a global scale. The following strategies that were highlighted throughout this campaign can help close the gap between the diagnosed and controlled, especially in low- and middle- income countries:

  • Patient-centered approach that makes it easy and convenient for the hypertension patient to control their blood pressure (e.g., convenient health care visits and multi-month medication refills) 
  • Team-based care and task-sharing to mitigate physician shortages and delegate some aspects of treatment to other health care providers (e.g., nurses, pharmacists, and community health workers) 
  • Accessible, quality-assured medications to make anti-hypertensive single pill combinations more affordable and ensure the affordability/quality of all Essential Medicines List anti-hypertensive drugs 
Additional Resources

Fill out the form below and share how you have been involved with promoting the new WHO hypertension guideline in your country, including but not limited to outreach on social media, conferences you attended, or meetings you hosted with government stakeholders:

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