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Hypertension Prevention and Control in Latin America and the Caribbean

on Mon, 03/02/2015 - 03:04

Published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, February 28, 2015.

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Publication authors: Pedro Ordunez, MD, PhD; Ramon Martinez, Eng; Mark L. Niebylski, PhD, MBA, MS; Norm R. Campbell, MD



Hypertension assessment and management is critical to the prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). In 2000, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)'s Directing Council called for the implementation of surveillance systems, development of national prevention plans, and greater emphasis on controlling hypertension [1]. In 2006, PAHO adopted its first regional strategy and plan of action for chronic diseases and their risk factors, having hypertension as a key element of that strategy.

In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), a region with significant socioeconomic disparities and countries at different stages of epidemiological transition, the prevention and control of hypertension has been prioritized quite unevenly. The purpose of this brief report is to give an update on the burden of the problem, the mandates and priorities, surveillance activities, and some initiatives on the current agenda based on lessons learned for prevention and control of hypertension in LAC.


PAHO is prioritizing the prevention and control of hypertension through a series of systematic interventions and strong partnerships. Enhanced surveillance methods will assess the impact of health promotion and clinical interventions. Efforts to promote physical activity and healthy diets (especially lowering dietary salt) aim to reduce the prevalence of hypertension and improve control. The program has already developed a mechanism to make antihypertensive drugs more available and affordable within the Americas as a key short term success. Assisting countries implement chronic care models focusing on hypertension control using simplified approaches is an ongoing focus as are efforts to incorporate risk assessment into routine hypertension management. It is hoped that the PAHO effort will achieve and surpass the United Nations target of a 25% decrease in uncontrolled hypertension and provide global best practices.


Ordunez, P., Martinez, R., Niebylski, M. L. and Campbell, N. R. (2015), Hypertension Prevention and Control in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Journal of Clinical Hypertension. doi: 10.1111/jch.12518

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