Blood pressure trouble for 42 percent Keralites

Thiruvananthapuram, April 5 (IANS) Kerala Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar Friday said 42 percent of Kerala’s population suffers from high blood pressure. The minister was speaking ahead of World Health Day, which falls Sunday.

WHO’s theme for health day this year is hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Addressing reporters here, Sivakumar said the state would engage in extensive awareness-raising programmes to spread information about the lifestyle disease, hypertension.

“Starting Sunday, we are launching a one-year-long campaign, ‘Amritham Arogyam’. A massive campaign would be taken up to tackle high blood pressure and other lifestyle diseases,” he said.

The minister said a door-to-door campaign would educate people about lifestyle diseases. He also pointed out that a comprehensive health policy for the state, currently in a draft stage, would be published May 19, the second anniversary of the Congress-led government.

“It is being prepared by a team of health experts, and will cover the entire gamut of health issues in the state. It would also provide a route map on how to achieve the goals through new policies,” Sivakumar said.

Generic medicines would be made available free of cost to all patients in all state-run health care institutions, Sivakumar said.

Incidentally, Kerala leads the rest of the country in health indicators like infant mortality rate (13 per 1,000 population), and life expectancy.

Male life expectancy in the state is 71.4 years, while the national average is 62.6 years; for women, the national average is 64.2 years, while the state’s average is 76.3 years.

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