To mark May Measurement Month and World Hypertension Day the World Stroke Organization hosted a joint panel event that highlighted the urgent need for progress on primary prevention and management of hypertension and stroke. In a year that has highlighted the devastating costs of poor public health, this interactive discussion sought to explore the challenges and possible opportunities for progress, created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The diverse panel, moderated by Prof Alta Schutte, featured WSO President-elect Prof Sheila Martins (Brazil), Consultant Neurologist Dr Bindu Menon (India), World Hypertension League Past President Dr Daniel Lackland, Prof Mayowa Owolabi (WHL Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria) and Dr Neil Poulter (May Measurement Month, UK).
Key interventions identified by the panel to help to address incidence of stroke and other CVDs included, building public awareness to encourage people to know their numbers through interventions like World Hypertension Day, May Measurement Month and the World Stroke Campaign. Implementation of WHO Best Buys including food policies alongside implementation of blood pressure screening programs and the use of mobile technologies to help individuals identify and address risk factors were identified as a highly cost-effective interventions. But, as was highlighted by Prof Martins, there also needs to be clearer global agreement and clinical guidelines to help primary and community health workers to effectively identify and manage hypertension, With hypertension as the leading risk factor for stroke and with 80% of strokes affecting people who are determined to be at low to medium risk, we need a more consistent approach that takes hypertension seriously.
The webinar was attended by over 125 people and a full recording can be found on the World Stroke Organization YouTube channel.
Achieving our vision of a life free from stroke is a task that WSO cannot achieve alone. We are committed to building our partnerships at the global, regional and national level to scale up and deliver improvements in prevention, treatment and support to reduce the burden of stroke.