TGI India researcher elected co-chair of global hypertension programme

Praveen Devarasetty, Head of the Primary Heath Care Research at the George Institute for Global Health, India, has been elected co-chair of the Global Alliance of Chronic Disease (GACD) Hypertension programme.

As a co-chair, Praveen will lead the programme over the next few years and represent his peers in matters relating to the development of the GACD Research Network.

The GACD Research network funds, develops and facilitates innovative research collaborations between low- and middle-income and high-income countries in the fight against chronic diseases. It currently has two active research programmes - hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Both research programmes feature implementation science research, specifically the science of implementing proven strategies to improve the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases.

GACD members chose Hypertension as their first joint funding initiative and the grants were announced in June 2012. In India, it funded SMARThealth, a smart-phone based clinical decision support system for primary heath through the National Research and Medical Council of Australia. Other projects which have received GACD funding include the Control of Hypertension in Rural India and the National Salt Reduction Programme.

Study leader Dr Praveen, who leads the study on SMARThealth India, says : “Since wireless networks  now reach over 80 per cent of India’s population, SMART Health India has the potential to revolutionise the delivery of  essential healthcare to those who previously had little or no access.”

"Our ultimate goal is to determine whether this approach will deliver meaningful reductions in death, disability   and ‘catastrophic’ healthcare expenditure across a range of geographies and cultures. We believe that such evidence will provide a strong case for  scale-up to all disadvantaged communities in the region and many other parts of the world with implications for the  health and wellbeing of billions of people," says Dr Praveen.

Hypertension is one of the most common chronic conditions worldwide, affecting an estimated 1 billion people. It is a major contributor to heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease, and other conditions, and, according to the World Health Organization, contributes to more deaths worldwide than any other risk factor.

The GACD is the first collaboration of major international public research funding agencies to specifically address chronic non-communicable diseases. The hypertension research initiative demonstrates the GACD’s commitment to help combat the global burden of chronic diseases by coordinating research on prevention and treatment.