Australian Researchers To Study Chronic Disease In Rural India

June 22, 2012

AUSTRALIA – A new $1 million Australian government grant will fund a landmark study of the relationship between income and high blood pressure in rural India this year.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will support the collaboration between Monash University and the George Institute, as part of an international initiative coordinated by the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases.

More than 150 million Indian adults have high blood pressure, and the majority of these live in rural areas. However, most research to date has concentrated on high blood pressure, or hypertension, in urban areas. As a result, little is known about barriers to diagnosis and treatment outside the cities.

Professor Amanda Thrift, of Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Southern Clinical School, will lead the study in collaboration with Professor Brian Oldenburg of the School of Population Health and local investigators in India. The investigators will canvass the population in three rural regions at different phases of economic and social development.

By researching populations at different socioeconomic levels, the investigators will assess whether a common approach to managing hypertension across rural regions is appropriate, or if more targeted initiatives are needed.

“As countries undergo economic and social transition, we’ve noted an alarming rise in hypertension in urban areas. However, our research indicates that the prevalence of hypertension in rural areas is higher than would be expected, including among people who live below the poverty line,” Thrift said.

“The lack of knowledge of barriers to managing hypertension in rural regions of developing countries is a glaring gap in our knowledge-base. I’m really pleased that the NHMRC has recognized this.”

Professor Oldenburg has an ongoing collaboration with colleagues at the world-renowned Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Kerala, India.

The results, expected in late 2015, will help develop and monitor low-cost, effective public health initiatives to improve the prevention and management of hypertension in poor areas.


Category: Education

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