In the Philippines, MMM is spearheaded by the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) in collaboration with a Hypertension Alliance composed of the Department of Health, Department of Education, Philippine College of Physicians (PCP), Philippine Heart Association and more than 20 governmental and non-governmental organizations.
For this year, the month-long MMM18 was launched during the PCP annual convention at the SMX Convention Center recently. It was attended by representatives from all collaborating organizations
“MMM puts the spotlight on increasing access to blood pressure screening as potentially the most effective way to reduce hypertension’s adverse toll on health,” says Dr. Rafael Castillo, currently a member of the ISH Executive Committee, and a past president of PSH. He delivered the keynote message during the launch of MMM18.
Hypertension remains our ‘Public Enemy’ No. 1—the Number 1 killer or cause of deaths worldwide and in the Philippines. Cardiovascular diseases including high BP account for 33 percent or nearly one third of all deaths in the Philippines every year.
“Worldwide, around 10 million lives are lost each year needlessly due to raised blood pressure,” warns Professor Neil Poulter, president of the International Society of Hypertension (ISH).
Prof. Poulter adds that ISH, with its collaborating organizations worldwide, want to change this with massive BP awareness campaigns such as the May Measurement Month (MMM).
Dr. Castillo, who is the MMM country leader for the Philippines, adds that MMM18 is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Ramon F. Abarquez, Jr., PSH founding president who died early this year. Dr. Abarquez envisioned the country’s experts to be among the global leaders in pioneering advocacy campaigns, and scientific researches that can guide health officials and clinicians in stemming the tide of high blood pressure in the country.
“A sustained multisectoral approach is really necessary to increase and sustain awareness, which has been identified as the key for the success of BP-control programs in countries like Japan, Singapore, Canada and the United States,” says Dr. Alberto Atilano, current PSH president and MMM co-country leader.
He adds: “Our shared visionary goal is that by 2022—with an effective multisectoral collaboration—we shall increase BP awareness to 80 percent, treatment rate to 60 percent, and control rate to 30 percent. The bottom line is to reduce BP-related deaths by 25 percent; hence, saving around 30,000 Filipinos yearly.”
Once again this year, for the whole month of May, the PSH, together with its collaborating organizations in the Hypertension Alliance will carry out a nationwide BP screening and counseling campaign to diagnose unaware hypertensive individuals and identify those who are at risk to develop life-threatening complications like heart attack or stroke, so they could be referred for appropriate medical care.
According to Dr. Deborah Ona, also a co-country leader for MMM in the Philippines, last year, the Philippines was the global leader among more than 100 participating countries worldwide, contributing 272,000 screened individuals (22 percent) out of the pooled global data of 1.2 million. The analysis of the global paper has been analyzed by ISH experts and will be published in a prestigious international journal this month.
Five Filipino hypertension specialists are included as collaborators to this global study.
- Doctors Rafael Castillo
- Carmela Napiza-Granada
- Ma. Rosario Sevilla
- Alberto Atilano
- Deborah Ona
The paper provides some information and insights that can help guide health officials in their respective BP-control programs.
Once the embargo on all local data are lifted after publication of the global paper, the PSH also plans to write a separate analysis on the local data. This will be published as a separate paper from the global paper.
“We also hope that health-promoting programs like MMM18 can help restore the trust of our countrymen on preventive health programs, especially for high BP and cardiovascular diseases which remain our number one killer. The public trust on preventive health programs of the government may have been partly strained and compromised because of the Dengvaxia controversy,” says Dr. Atilano.
MMM is also in line with Presidential Proclamation No. 1761, issued on May 1, 2009 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, declaring May each year as Hypertension Awareness Month (PD 1761 attached), and enjoining governmental and nongovernmental organizations, to be major collaborators in implementing BP awareness and control programs.
For more information and pointers on how to control high BP, please visit: maymeasure.com.