Innovative Family Health Centres in Kerala support hypertension detection and control

Jun. 1, 2018

iDSI staff visited Family Health Centres in Kerala to learn how the Centre’s activities are helping to improve hypertension detection and control in India.

The visit formed part of an initiative led by the State Government of Kerala to increase the detection of new cases of hypertension through opportunistic blood pressure screening of adults at primary care facilities (known as Family Health Centres – FHCs); and achieve set BP targets through suitable management of hypertensive patients. The initiative is receiving technical assistance iDSI.

Over four days Dr Francoise Cluzeau and Dr Sreelal Prabhakaran, together with Dr T.K Suma from T. D Medical College, visited 10 pilot sites in the Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts that have started implementing Quality Standards the State Government of Kerala developed in conjunction with iDSI.

The team observed that over 100 staff at the FHCs had been trained in blood pressure measurement and were aware of the QS implementation and their objectives.

The ‘patient pathway’, which aims to put any patients with high blood pressure on a faster, more streamlined route to clinical advice and/or drug treatment, was being followed by all FHCs.

Two of the 10 pilot FHCs have started registers for new hypertension cases, allowing for hypertensive patients to be identifiable to healthcare professionals and for any changes in their BP to be easily tracked.

A new ‘patient passbook’ is being used in one of the FHC’s, enabling patients to keep track of their readings, appointments and any medication.

The pilot project will conclude later in 2018 and the team will visit the pilot FHCs to evaluate the QS implementation again later this summer.

Kerala is one of the Indian states undergoing rapid epidemiological transition with a high prevalence of NCDs, particularly hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Although Kerala has managed to increase detection and management through primary care as part of a NCD control programme, one of its priorities is to improve the quality of management of NCDs through the primary care system.