"The roadmap in the later stage will develop policy beliefs for issues such as Rheumatic Heart Disease and Essential Cardiovascular Medicines."
New Delhi, June 11 - Different ministries need to work together if India wants to deal with cardiovascular diseases (CVD) - one of the main causes of death in the country, an official of the World Heart Federation (WHF) said Wednesday.

The health ministry will look after the health policy, the ministry which deals with food should work to ensure that people have access to healthy food.

The ministry which looks after trade practices should work on reducing the availability of tobacco so that cost effective and efficient solution can be provided to tackle the rising CVD deaths, Johanna Ralston, CEO, WHF, told IANS.

The WHF is working on developing a CVD roadmap for India with the stakeholders from different sectors across India, with further assistance from the PHD chamber of commerce.

The roadmap, to be released in October, relates to the World Health Organisation (WHO) target of reducing premature CVD mortality by 25 percent by 2025.

The roadmap will be divided into phases with particular focus on secondary prevention, hypertension and tobacco control -- which are preventive measures to save people from heart strokes and other pulmonary heart diseases.

As a new government has just come to power, this is the right time that they reform their policies so that they can provide low cost treatment in India and lighten the burden of heart diseases, said Ralston.

According to her, the roadmap will develop specific policies that will lead to appropriate and optimal use of drugs or interventions (issues to consider are access, pricing, laws, affordability), efficient clinical and population level implementation.

Essentially, the target should be to implement smoke free policy, because there have been examples and studies which highlight that the country with such policy has seen a reduction in CVD cases, said Ralston.

The roadmap in the later stage will develop policy beliefs for issues such as Rheumatic Heart Disease and Essential Cardiovascular Medicines.

The WHF is leading the global fight against CVD - including heart disease and stroke - with a focus on low and middle income countries, via a united community of more than 200 member organisations.


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