World Health Day 2013

High Blood Pressure

World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. Each year a theme is selected for World Health Day that highlights a priority area of public health concern in the world.

The theme for 2013 is high blood pressure.

Worldwide, high blood pressure is the leading single risk factor globally, accounting for an estimated 9.4 million deaths and 7% of global DALYs(Disability-Adjusted Life year) in 2010, thus attributing to about 18% of the total 52.8 million deaths during that year. One in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure. The proportion increases with age, from 1 in 10 people in their 20s and 30s to 5 in 10 people in their 50s. It increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and many other associated comorbidities. Treating raised blood pressure and maintaining it below 140/90 mmHg is associated with a reduction in cardiovascular complications.

WHO Country Office for India is utilizing this opportunity to explore and identify how the health system can be strengthened across the continuum of care, to address hypertension and associated comorbidities with other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and with communicable diseases (CDs). Due attention would be given to issues including a primary health care approach; improved diagnostic capacity; access to essential medicines; capacity building of staff; strengthening the Health Information System to capture data on NCDs and associated comorbidities; engaging the private and voluntary sectors to address hypertension, and linkages to both, the coverage and financial protection aspects of universal health coverage.

General and specific objectives

The goal of World Health Day 2013 is to reduce heart attacks and strokes. Specific objectives of the campaign are to:

  • Raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure;
  • Encourage people to change behaviours that can lead to hypertension;
  • Persuade adults to have their blood pressure checked regularly;
  • Increase the number of health facilities offering blood pressure checks; and
  • Encourage national and local authorities to create enabling environments for healthy behaviours.

The WHD 2013 events in India are aimed at raising the awareness amongst national policymakers, programme managers and other stakeholders on the need to strengthen the Indian health system to respond to hypertension and related comorbidities, keeping in line with the WHO-Government of India Country Cooperation Strategy.