Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, has committed a total investment of $216 million since 2017 to continue efforts aimed at preventing deaths from heart disease.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has channeled these investments into significant life-saving initiatives, including initiatives to curb tobacco and youth e-cigarette usage through a funding injection of $1.58 billion.

The philanthropic endeavor has also lent support to healthy food policies, drowning prevention, enhanced road safety, and maternal health.

In July 2022, Bloomberg allocated an additional $115 million to its Cardiovascular Health initiative, bringing the cumulative investment to $216 million since 2017.

Hypertension, a condition affecting one in three adults globally, is a common and life-threatening ailment that can lead to serious health issues like stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage, and more.

While factors like older age and genetics can elevate the risk of high blood pressure, modifiable risk elements such as a high-salt diet, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol consumption can also contribute to hypertension, as explained by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Lifestyle changes like adopting a healthier diet, quitting tobacco, and increasing physical activity can help reduce blood pressure. Some individuals may require medication to effectively manage hypertension and prevent related complications,” noted WHO.

Prevention, early detection, and efficient management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective healthcare interventions and should be prioritized by nations as part of their national healthcare offerings at the primary care level. Enhanced hypertension treatment programs offer economic benefits that outweigh the costs by approximately 18 to 1.

“Hypertension can be effectively controlled with simple, affordable medication regimens, yet only about one in five people with hypertension have it under control,” remarked Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“Hypertension control programs remain neglected, under-prioritized, and significantly underfunded. Strengthening hypertension control must be part of every country’s journey toward universal health coverage, based on well-functioning, equitable, and resilient health systems built on a foundation of primary health care.”

This report is unveiled during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which discusses progress related to the Sustainable Development Goals, including health objectives pertaining to pandemic preparedness and response, ending tuberculosis, and achieving Universal Health Coverage. Progress in all these areas hinges on improved hypertension prevention and control.

Hypertension can be effectively managed with safe, readily available, and cost-effective generic medications, utilizing programs like HEARTS. WHO’s HEARTS technical package for cardiovascular disease management in primary healthcare settings, along with guidelines for the pharmacological treatment of hypertension in adults, provide evidence-based and practical steps to deliver effective hypertension care in primary healthcare settings.

Effective nationwide blood pressure management can be attained in countries of varying income levels. More than 40 low- and middle-income countries, including Bangladesh, Cuba, India, and Sri Lanka, have fortified their hypertension care using the HEARTS package, enrolling over 17 million individuals in treatment programs. Canada and South Korea have also successfully implemented comprehensive national hypertension treatment programs, surpassing the 50 percent mark for blood pressure control in adults with hypertension.

Consistent, systematic national hypertension control programs can achieve success, leading to a higher level of blood pressure control, fewer strokes and heart attacks, and longer, healthier lives.

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