Hypertension is one of the most important modifiable health risk factors to a patient’s life. The e0nd of life does not occur because of hypertension alone, but by many of the extremely serious and acutely linked diseases like Myocardial Infarction, strokes and renal failures just to name some. It is a chronic concern to the health sector due to its role in the causation of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of mortality both in the Philippines and worldwide. It is one of the most common disorders that affect the human population thus posing a major population health challenge, rather than an individual one.
According to the April 2015 primary survey of Team NB, 81% of the above 40 age group population of the Barangay New Barili is hypertensive. Also, the survey reveals that hypertension is the disease with the greatest family history among the population of Barangay New Barili, with its number increased by three-folds from the other diseases identified. Based from the data gathered in the Tampilisan Municipal Health Office, the barangay has a hypertensive patient as young 30 years old, which depicts that hypertension befalls on younger and younger population as time passes. Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of Mortality in Barangay New Barili, with hypertension as its common denominator. It is also among the Top Leading Causes of Morbidity in the barangay.
During the Barangay Assembly conducted by the team on April 20, 2015, hypertension was the number one problem identified by all four (4) groups, which were formed for the purpose of a focused group discussion for community diagnosis. Annually, the Municipal Health Office spends more on hypertension treatment, representing a substantial share of its financial resources. The financial burden of hypertension will increase even further as the number of hypertensive people is projected to grow.
With this, team NB decided to direct its efforts on hypertension and consider this as the top community health problem. The major problem in achieving better control of hypertension in a community is based on the fact that hypertension is a silent asymptomatic disease. Ignorance of the general population as to the nature of elevated blood pressure, its morbid effects and the methods of maintaining its control is widespread and contributes to the large percentage of undetected and untreated hypertensive subjects in a community.
The team will use two general approaches for the primary prevention of hypertension, the individual-based interventions and population-based interventions, with the latter as the main approach. Population-based approaches focus on controlling the determinants of hypertension in the entire population. Example interventions include community-based hypertension health education and mass media campaigns to change diet and lifestyle. The main interventions will not require costly materials or resources but rather only the community’s active participation. Individual-based interventions seek to identify high-risk hypertensive individuals and to offer them pharmacologic treatment and follow-up strategies for compliance.
The team is hopeful that despite the daunting task of preventing and treating hypertension, the people of New Barili and the team, together, will persevere in making the change necessary for a healthy and empowered community.
Sitti Shalimar Tahir
ADZU-SOM Level 1