BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — A senior official of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a pilot project at two polyclinics, which was aimed at improving blood pressure control in primary health care, has been so successful that the results have informed a global initiative to reduce ill health and premature death due to heart disease and stroke.
Deputy Chief of the Global Non-Communicable Disease branch of the CDC, Dr Lorna English, said that based on the positive results from the Barbados pilot, the evidence-based tools and practices that were promoted and demonstrated by the project had been integrated into technical packages of a programme called the Global Hearts Initiative.
She said that the tools developed for the technical packages reflected lessons learned in Barbados and that key elements included standardised, evidence-based treatment protocols; team-based care; registries for patient monitoring, and evaluation.
The Ministry of Health here collaborated with the CDC, The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the University of the West Indies and Healthy Caribbean Coalition to execute the Barbados Global Standardized Hypertension Treatment Project at the Winston Scott and Edgar Cochrane Polyclinics.
“Barbados and the PAHO region are global leaders in moving this work forward. It is no surprise that many other countries throughout the world are interested in applying the same simple and cost-effective approach,” the CDC official noted.
Health Minister John Boyce said the project would eventually be rolled out in all nine polyclinics.
He said that hypertension was the most common non-communicable disease (NCD) in Barbados with more than 40 000 adults affected with an estimated 20 000 attending polyclinics for management of the disease.
Boyce said that the project involved the use of quality hypertension pharmaceuticals, training of health care professionals in hypertension management, the integrated use of health information systems, clinical audits and “an empowered patient”.
“The protocol produced has led to some positive changes in prescribing habits of our primary care physicians, better blood pressure control among clients and a more engaged patient,” Boyce said, adding that the continued success of the programme would require commitment from primary care physicians, nurses, medical records officers, dieticians and clients.
He said a viable programme would also require a health information system that could streamline care with the ability to analyse and predict service use.