As of 2021, an estimated 1.28 billion people worldwide are recorded to be hypertensive. A 2021 comprehensive global analysis on hypertension revealed that although it is straightforward to diagnose hypertension and relatively easy to treat the condition with low-cost drugs, there remain significant gaps in diagnosis and treatment. In fact, about 580 million people with hypertension are unaware of their condition because they were never diagnosed.
Alarmingly, raised blood pressure remains the number one cause of preventable deaths globally. In the Philippines, hypertension was among the greatest contributors to the highest mortality rate recorded by the country in the past 63 years.
Given these statistics, various health organizations across the world continue to work for hypertension awareness and improved management. Among the campaigns with this aim is the May Measurement Month (MMM), an annual movement that encourages people to get their blood pressure checked.
Since 2017, the teams behind MMM have screened more than 4 million people in 100 countries, and have found almost one million participants with untreated hypertension. This year, 85 countries, including the Philippines, will be joining in the observance of May Measurement Month with the theme #THEBIGSQUEEZE.
The Big Squeeze in the Philippines
May Measurement Month in the Philippines was kicked off by the Philippine Society of Hypertension on May 17, 2022 – which is also the established World Hypertension Day. MMM 2022 marks the fifth year of the campaign being observed in the country.
MMM will be held from May to September of 2022, with the aim of screening 1 million Filipino adults, providing diet and lifestyle treatment to advice to participants with high normal to hypertensive BP ranges, and gathering significant data on hypertension to motivate the government to improve local screening facilities and contribute to the reduction of the global burden of diseases related to raised BP.
“We know that raised blood pressure is the single biggest contributor to the global burden of diseases and global mortality. The number of people affected and the prevalence of high blood pressure worldwide are expected to increase over the next decade. Therefore, preventive strategies are urgently needed, especially in less developed countries like ours,” said Dr. Alejandro F. Diaz, MMM country lead for the Philippines.
“We want to partner with both government and non-government organizations to combat this cardiovascular disease. So, we have formed a hypertension alliance for this purpose, to continue to push for awareness, prevention and treatment of hypertension,” said PSH President Dr. Deborah Ona.
Partners for The Big Squeeze
The Department of Health expressed its support to the MMM through Health Promotion Bureau Director Dr. Beverly Ho, who gave a message during the program on May 17. Moreover, the Quezon City local government also stood in solidarity with PSH and its cause. During the kick-off ceremonies, Mayor Joy Bemonte participated in the ceremonial blood pressure measurement at Quezon City Hall. Mayor Belmonte shared that since January 2022, the city has recorded nearly 6,500 citizens with hypertension, 2,970 of whom also have diabetes. Given this, the city targets 150,000 QC residents to be aware of their blood pressure so that they can be given proper medication and due assistance by the government.
Also joining in the advocacy is OMRON’s Healthcare business in the Philippines. OMRON, which has been a staunch supporter of MMM since 2017, hosted the streaming of the 2022 kick-off program via its official social media channels. OMRON has also been putting efforts into enhancing the awareness levels on the benefits of home BP monitoring by providing free checkups in pharmacies and densely populated areas across the country.
“OMRON Healthcare is one with the Philippine Society of Hypertension and all of the partners for the May Measurement Month in aiming to decrease the prevalence and ease the burden of hypertension. Through our longstanding support for this movement, OMRON aims to encourage Filipinos to practice blood pressure monitoring as a health habit,” said Yusuke Kato, General Manager for OMRON Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd – Philippine Branch (Healthcare Division).
For more information on May Measurement Month 2022, you may visit www.maymeasure.org.