Rural health teams take May Measurement Month into Indian villages

17th May 2017Eugenie Verney

Rural health teams take May Measurement Month into Indian villages

Among many community-based organisations across India involved in May Measurement Month is the Rural Health Progress Trust, an NGO based in Maharashtra with a vision of ‘health for every village and villager’ and led by cardiologist Dr Arun More.

Preventing and managing hypertension are among the Trust’s key objectives and Dr More and his teams of volunteers had by mid-May already taken several thousand blood pressure measurements in villages across the Osmanabad and Latur districts.

Dr More said: ‘We are supporting May Measurement Month and are especially targeting villages where blood pressure measuring equipment has never been seen.’

In a recent pilot study, the Trust had found that 71% of people aged 60-plus had never been screened and 64% of villages did not have access to measuring devices.

One of those screened for May Measurement Month was an elderly man in an Osmanabad village (pictured above) who had never had his blood pressure checked before. He has a mature cataract in his right eye and as his reading was only just below the 140/90 hypertension threshold, he was advised to consult a physician.

Sitting near him was a much younger man who was both obese and a smoker. His blood pressure was also borderline, and he was advised to modify his lifestyle, reduce his salt intake, and stop smoking.

In another village, Dr More found a 19-year-old with an average blood pressure reading of 150/94. When he was tested using 2D echocardiography, the young man was found to have aortic regurgitation (a leaky heart valve) and was prescribed medication.

Dr More added: ‘We are giving individuals the opportunity to be screened for hypertension on their doorsteps. Our social health leaders counsel them if their blood pressure is elevated and urge them to see a physician, and we also provide them with materials on hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.’

The Trust also keeps local doctors updated with the latest hypertension management guidelines.

 

Promoting May Measurement Month at the Suryavanshi Complex, in Murud, Latur district, Maharashtra.