Punta Cana, 17 May 2018 (PAHO) - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has been awarded the World Hypertension League’s Organizational Excellence Award for its outstanding work in hypertension control in the Region of the Americas. The award recognizes PAHO’s efforts in the implementation of the HEARTS initiative, which aims to reduce the burden of cardiovascular diseases.
“The decision to present the award to PAHO is due to its pioneering vision in the prevention and control of hypertension in the Region,” said Marcelo Orias, vice-president of the World Hypertension League. He also praised the Organization for its promotion of the HEARTS technical package, which provides countries with a strategic approach for improving cardiovascular health. “PAHO is carrying out efficient, organized and pioneering work. It is a clear winner and very much deserves the award,” added Orias.
The HEARTS technical package supports Ministries of Health in strengthening the management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in primary health care settings through the provision of step-by-step modules for policy makers and programmatic staff on each one of the aspects of hypertension control.
HEARTS Initiative was created by the World Health Organization, in partnership with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Resolve to Save Lives initiative, the International Society of Nephrology, the International Society of Hypertension, the World Hypertension League, the International Diabetes Federation, and the World Heart Federation.
In the Region of the Americas, the initiative is led by Ministries of Health, with technical support and coordination from PAHO to ensure that HEARTS is integrated in a harmonic and progressive way within existing health services to promote the adoption of best global practices in the prevention and control of CVD.
“Preventing and controlling hypertension is key to improving the health of a population,” said Dr. Anselm Hennis, Director of the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at PAHO. “We will continue to promote this initiative by providing tools and technical support to strengthen primary care services that are focused on the management and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. PAHO is honored to accept this award and thanks the League for this recognition,” he added.
The HEARTS initiative was first pioneered in the Region by applying the model in in four countries: Barbados, Chile, Colombia and Cuba. These projects demonstrated that the model works, that is accepted by patients, providers and funders, and that, most importantly, it improves the control of hypertension.
In 2018, the model was expanded within these countries and was also implemented in Argentina, Ecuador, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. This year, the Dominican Republic -which is in the pre-implementation phase-, Peru and St. Lucia also joined HEARTS and other countries, including Mexico, are also considering joining.