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PATH in collaboration with Novartis Foundation announce innovative program to tackle hypertension in Vietnam

May 17, 2016 by PATH

Communities for Healthy Hearts will improve hypertension screening and management with a focus on empowering patients and health care workers

Andy Grow,

Seattle, May 17, 2016–On the occasion of World Hypertension Day 2016, PATH and the Novartis Foundation along with local partners Lotus Impact and the Hanoi School of Public Health have announced a new collaboration to improve hypertension screening and management in Vietnam. An innovative health care program, Communities for Healthy Hearts will strengthen screening and treatment at the community level while leveraging digital health technology to empower patients and health workers to manage hypertension.

This project is part of PATH's broader strategy to improve access to prevention and care for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) using innovative tools and approaches to increase availability of essential medicines and technologies, and integrate NCDs into existing systems and services. "We believe creative partnerships and innovative approaches will lead us to cost-effective sustainable solutions for reaching vulnerable populations worldwide affected by NCDs," said PATH's director of NCDs Helen McGuire.

The rising prevalence of NCDs has been described as a public health emergency in slow motion. Cardiovascular disease and stroke cause an estimated 17.5 million deaths globally in 2012, and over three quarters of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Hypertension, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, leads to an estimated 91,000 deaths per year in Vietnam. Known as a "silent killer," the disease often shows no obvious symptoms, even in severe cases. Nearly one quarter of the adult population in Vietnam has hypertension, but fewer than half are aware of their condition: only 11 percent of hypertensive cases are controlled. Communities for Healthy Hearts aims to increase awareness of the disease and the importance of screening while increasing access to lifesaving treatment services.

Communities for Healthy Hearts marks the second innovative hypertension health care model pioneered by the Novartis Foundation, a philanthropic organization. "We are excited to see our hypertension work extend to Vietnam through an innovative collaborative approach," said Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation. "As with our Community-based Hypertension Improvement Project (ComHIP) in Ghana, we hope to bring hypertension prevention and detection closer to patients to improve health outcomes and blood pressure control levels in urban settings in a way that is sustainable at scale."

With a 35-year history of partnership in Vietnam, PATH is well-positioned to collaborate with the Novartis Foundation and local partners to design and lead the introduction of the model. "I'm extremely pleased we are partnering with the Novartis Foundation to address this significant emerging health care challenge in Vietnam," said PATH president and CEO Steve Davis. "This program leverages our collective expertise in behavior change, health system strengthening, and technology solutions to create a truly innovative and people-centered health care model. We hope to see hypertension prevention and control made easy at the community level for both health workers and patients."

Communities for Healthy Hearts will draw on new approaches to strengthen hypertension management, engaging local social entrepreneurs to increase access points for cardiovascular health education and screening services. A key priority will be to strengthen linkages and referrals between the public and private health sectors, with a focus on patient-centered care. Digital health technology will be used to empower patients in self-management, while also increasing patient to provider contact.

The program will be carried out in four districts in Ho Chi Minh City in partnership with the Provincial Health Department, covering a population of approximately two million people. Hypertension prevalence is significantly higher in urban areas of Vietnam at 33 percent, with Ho Chi Minh City being home to the largest urban population in the country. Learnings from the program will be evaluated to inform scale-up of hypertension control efforts countrywide.

About PATH

PATH is the leader in global health innovation. An international nonprofit organization, PATH saves lives and improves health, especially among women and children. Accelerating innovation across five platforms–vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, devices, and system and service innovations–PATH harnesses its entrepreneurial insight, scientific and public health expertise, and passion for health equity. By mobilizing partners around the world, PATH takes innovation to scale, working alongside countries primarily in Africa and Asia to tackle their greatest health needs. With these key partners, PATH delivers measurable results that disrupt the cycle of poor health. Learn more at