A retrospective analysis of hypertension screening at a mass gathering in India: Implications for non-communicable disease control strategies

S. Balsari, P. Vemulapalli, M. Gofine, K. Oswal, R. Merchant, S. Saunik, G. Greenough, T. Khanna

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Cardiovascular disease is the leading case of mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCD) in India. The government's National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke seeks to increase capacity building, screening, referral and management of NCDs across India, and includes community-based outreach and screening programmes. The government in India routinely provides basic care at religious mass gatherings. However, in 2015, at the Kumbh Mela in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar, the state government extended its services to include a hypertension screening programme. We examine here the value and implications of such opportunistic screening at mass gatherings. At the Kumbh, 5760 persons voluntarily opted for hypertension screening, and received a single blood pressure measurement. In all, 1783 (33.6%) screened positive, of whom, 1580 were previously unaware of their diagnosis. Of the 303 that had previously known hypertension, 240 (79%) were prescribed medications, and 160 were compliant (that is, 52.8% under treatment). Fifty-five (18%) had normal blood pressure readings (BP under control). The data also demonstrated higher prevalence (39%) of hypertension among tobacco users compared to non-users (28%) (P<0.001). Poor recording of phone numbers (0.01%) precluded any phone-based follow-up. The low rates of hypertension awareness, treatment and control underscore the ongoing challenge of both hypertension screening and management in India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)750-753
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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