Cost-effective, efficient management of such conditions

The State government has come out with treatment protocols for diabetes and hypertension, which could go a long way in making the management of these conditions more cost-effective and efficient. Senior health officials said the government would soon be issuing a ‘government order’ (GO), making these protocols the compulsory and standard treatment guidelines in government healthcare institutions for treating anyone with diabetes or hypertension.

The protocols were evolved as the State was going ahead with a well-entrenched non-communicable diseases (NCDs) control programme to tackle its huge burden of lifestyle diseases through aggressive screening, prevention, and control strategies.

“In a State, where an estimated 16 per cent of the population has diabetes and over 30 per cent hypertension, it was imperative that we evolved common treatment guidelines from a public health perspective. Diabetes management has already become a very expensive and market-driven affair and we needed to make it more cost-effective and efficient for the public,” a senior Health official told The Hindu .

The protocols were prepared by a high-level team of experts designated by the government and included physicians, cardiologists, endocrinologists, and community medicine specialists from both major private and public sector healthcare institutions.

“We approached the problem from various perspectives and after prolonged discussions, evolved a general framework within which we had to look into various aspects of managing these conditions. Our aim was to ensure an optimum level of care, using low-cost, yet effective drugs with the least side effects,” S. Sivasankaran, Professor of Cardiology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, and one of the members of the core team, said.

The protocols focus on screening all individuals above 30 years, assessing habits like tobacco/alcohol use, setting cut-offs for various stages of the conditions and for introducing drugs. For example, in managing hypertension stage 1 (140-159 systolic and 90-99 diastolic), drug therapy is introduced only if there is any co-morbidity or if there is no control even after three months of lifestyle modification.

The general treatment goals would be to provide better quality of life and prevent acute complications like renal problems or cardiovascular issues or infections.

  • State to issue government order in this regard

  • Experts to evaluate protocols every year