A multi-country research has found that rural community health workers can play an effective role in controlling high blood pressure among hypertensive patients through a low-cost health intervention in rural settings in South Asia.
The COBRA-BPS trial was co-conducted by International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), Aga Khan University, Pakistan, the University of Kelanyia, Sri Lanka, and coordinated by Duke-National University of Singapore revealed the result of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday.
According to tri-nation study, community healthcare workers to monitor patients’ blood pressure (BP) along with lifestyle coaching to them could effectively control high blood pressure.
The study titled ‘Control of Blood Pressure and Risk Attenuation- Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (COBRA-BPS)’ is a bunch randomised trial that closely examined 2,550 individuals with hypertension living in 30 rural communities in three countries between 2016 and 2019.
In Bangladesh, icddr,b implemented the trial among 895 hypertensive individuals in Munshiganj and Tangail districts in close collaborations with the NCD Control Programme of the Directorate General of Health Services and and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In the COBRA intervention areas, six health assistants (HAs) measured blood pressure of 447 study patients at homes using a digital blood pressure machine and provided education for promotion of lifestyle.
The HAs referred patients with uncontrolled blood pressure to selected upazila hospital where doctors treated those patients following a treatment protocol and mobilised supplies of anti-hypertensive drugs for the patients.
Dr Aliya Naheed, study’s principal investigator in Bangladesh and the country lead, said, “It was quite satisfying to observe that the hypertensive individuals who received COBRA care had at least 5mm Hg (millimetres of mercury) reduction in their systolic blood pressure in a year that sustained up to two years.”
“COBRA intervention can be a potential solution for controlling blood pressure and preventing deaths from heart attack and stroke the leading causes of premature deaths in Bangladesh,” she added.
The principal investigator also said, "We look forward to obtaining all out support from the government for scaling up this low cost strategy for effective control of blood pressure in rural areas in Bangladesh.”
Data suggests that programme delivery cost for scaling up the COBRA intervention in Bangladesh would be only 0.60 US dollar or equivalent to Tk 51 per patient annually.
Dr John David Clemens, executive director, iccdr,b said, “The implemented strategies in the COBRA-BPS trial have the potential to offer sustainable and low cost solutions for effective blood pressure lowering that can be integrated in the public healthcare systems in Bangladesh and other South Asian countries, and could save thousands of lives.”
The study was funded by the Joint Global Health Trials scheme, which includes the Medical Research Council, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Wellcome Trust.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangladesh is going to celebrate the International Mother Language Day by launching the UN Bangla font and Bangla version of the Human Development Report 2019 on Friday.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen will attend the function as the chief guest while Assistant Secretary General, Assistant Administrator & Director Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja as a special guest.
Resident Representative, UNDP, Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee and Deputy Resident Representative Van Nguyen will also be present.
On the eve of the International Mother Language Day, the US Embassy in Dhaka on Thursday launched its Bengali language website in an effort to increase understanding between the people of Bangladesh and the United States.
Chargé d’affaires (CDA) of the US Embassy here JoAnne Wagner launched the website -- www.bd.usembassy.gov/bn -- which closely mirrors the Embassy’s English website and provides content to Bengali speakers across Bangladesh and around the world.
The Bengali language website enables the embassy to communicate more effectively with Bangladeshis and further expand the growing bilateral relationship between the United States and Bangladesh.
Both websites will be updated regularly to ensure both English and Bengali speakers have access to information related to US foreign policy, business opportunities, visas for travel to the United States, study and professional exchange opportunities in the United States, and more.
At the launching event, CDA Wagner said the International Mother Language Day holds a special place here in Bangladesh and in the heart of Bangladeshis around the world, particularly because it was the 1952 language movement in Bangladesh that led the United Nations to create International Mother Language Day.
“To recognise that historic Bengali language movement that took place not so long ago, on behalf of the United States Embassy, it is my honor and pleasure to launch our Embassy’s new Bengali language website,” she said.
Ambassador Miller, who due to meetings outside of Bangladesh was unable to attend the event, sent a message about the new website.
“I’m proud to announce on the eve of International Mother Language Day the launch of the US Embassy’s new Bengali language website,” said Ambassador Miller.
He hoped the new website, in the language this remarkable nation fought so valiantly to preserve, will increase understanding between the people of Bangladesh and the United States.
“The website will allow Bengali speakers in Bangladesh and around the world to read about and discuss US-Bangladesh relations; business and trade opportunities; visa information and US citizen services; study in the United States; cultural, educational and professional exchange programs, and so much more.”
The launching of the US Embassy Dhaka website in Bengali is one of the many initiatives of the US government to promote greater cooperation, dialogue, and mutual understanding between Bangladesh and the United States, and a strong partnership to help ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region, said the US Embassy.
Bangladesh has invited the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member States to join the celebrations commemorating the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman throughout the year.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam extended the invitation while delivering the closing remarks at the two-day second brainstorming session on the comprehensive reform of the OIC that ended in a city hotel on Thursday.
The OIC delegates paid rich tributes to the memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the memory of the Language Movement martyrs (Bhasa Shaheed) on the eve of the International Mother Language Day.
The State Minister thanked the Saudi government for its continued support towards the OIC.
The two-day conference was attended by more than 100 high representatives from 57 OIC Member States, their permanent mission to the OIC, the General Secretariat, six subsidiary organs of OIC, and a good number of affiliated organs of the OIC, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It was jointly co-chaired by Bangladesh, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the General Secretariat.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen inaugurated the event on Wednesday where the member states and organisations had the opportunity of presenting their thoughts, views and ideas on the comprehensive reform of the OIC.
The next phase of the reform process would be synchronisations of the ideas towards a solid set of democratic and consensus-based convergent formulations.
As regards implementation of the reforms agreed, the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGGE) and the Eminent Persons Group will decide whether implementation would be done item by item, in a graduated manner or as a consolidated package.
The state minister particularly thanked the Co-Chairs for their support and cooperation in conducting the brainstorming meetings.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday sought a stronger private sector role in helping Bangladesh reach its goals, including implementation of sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 saying partnership is crucial.
“I believe the role of private sector and active contributions of private entities like Green Delta will be useful in setting up Bangladesh’s strategic choices,” he said mentioning the achievement of SDGs by 2030 and smooth, sustainable LDC graduation by 2024 and becoming a developed country by 2041.
The Foreign Minister made the remarks while addressing a function on publication of SDG report organised by Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd at a city hotel.
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterson Dickson, UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo, former Ambassador Farooq Sobhan and Managing Director and CEO of Green Delta Insurance Company Limited Farzanah Chowdhury were, among others, present.
Against the rising backdrop of the 50th anniversary, Dr Momen said Bangladesh needs stronger partnership between government and the private sector, civil society and non-governmental organizations.
“This partnership is crucial to ensure that our past development gains are well sustained and can become even more dynamic and inclusive,” he said.
Dr Momen said Green Delta can also help accelerate SDG achievement by assisting the government to pursue better economic diplomacy.
The Foreign Minister said they have reset foreign policy objectives and made economic diplomacy the primary focus in the conduct of foreign relations.
He said the economic diplomacy has a four-pronged strategy and the first two stages are expanding Bangladeshi exports to traditional and new markets abroad; attracting ODI and FDI in growing sectors—such as export-oriented manufacturing, light engineering, shipbuilding, agribusiness, ICT, and pharmaceuticals.
Two more areas are securing the transfer of technology, technical assistance and advisory service; and securing more employment opportunities of Bangladeshi nationals abroad.
“In all categories, I believe Green Delta can contribute through different types of activities of the Group,” Dr Momen said.