Scaling up cardiovascular disease management in primary care through HEARTS in the Americas


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Extract: (...) While the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Region of the Americas, among the hardest-hit, has worked hard to respond to the pandemic while also maintaining essential public health programs. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are among these programs, as they are the leading causes of death, disability and ill-health in this Region. Of the NCDs, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are responsible for 2 million (34.5%) of the 5.8 million NCD deaths, and have been a top priority for governments in the Americas since 2000. This is when the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Directing Council adopted a resolution urging governments to ‘strengthen and prioritize community and health service interventions, especially in primary care, that will lead to the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease and hypertension in particular’. Twenty-two years later, CVDs continue to prevail as the leading cause of death. Hypertension, the main risk factor for ischemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease is highly prevalent, affecting more than a third (35.4%) of adults, and there has been little change since 2000 (prevalence of 34.5%)(2). Furthermore, there is a significant gap in hypertension treatment in the Americas, where only 40.9% of women and 32.3% of men with hypertension are adequately controlled (...).

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