‘BP check facility should also be available at public places’
A few days back, Rakesh Kumar went shopping to a mall along with his father. As they walked around, his father complained of a headache. Gauging a health problem, Rakesh, a native of Gomti Nagar, decided to have his father’s blood pressure checked and searched for a BP monitoring facility nearby, but in vain.
They headed home and started looking for a nearby place where BP could be monitored. Finally, they had to visit a private clinic far away to do the needful as this facility was not easily/conveniently available at public places.
Rakesh also had to purchase a BP monitor for home use. It cost him around ₹5,000.
“No hospital/clinic near our house offers BP monitoring service. As a result, I had to spend on a machine,” he said.
High BP, if untreated over a period, can cause heart disease and related complications such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, say health experts.
WHAT’S THE WAY OUT
Experts suggest that blood pressure monitoring facility should not be limited to hospitals/clinics/dispensaries. BP kiosks should be set up at public places like pharmacies, retail stores, gyms, airports and salons for people. “This could actually help in terms of controlling BP related problems and reduce the disease burden of any state,” they emphasise.
“One way could be setting up of BP monitoring kiosks at malls. A person, if trained to check BP, can do it for public,” said Prof Kauser Usman, senior faculty, medicine department and head geriatric medicine at the KGMU.
“If such a programme is initiated, we can train people in BP monitoring,” said Prof NS Verma, senior faculty in physiology at KGMU, offering training sessions for those interested. He said setting up BP kiosks only requires a place to sit, a table, two chairs with backrest and a monitoring machine.
“Blood pressure should be monitored regularly and not just only when a doctor asks one to do it. This practice can save a lot of money that might be spent once blood pressure related medical problems occur,” said Verma.
A table that can accommodate a BP machine and the arm of the person who’s BP is to be monitored, two chairs with backrest and a monitoring machine – this will make a complete set-up for a BP kiosk, which could cost a few thousands, depending upon the quality of table and chairs.
“However, if one goes for automated machine, it will cost around₹1.5 lakh. This is made for heavy usage and stores data of thousands of people. Such a machine should be operated only by a trained attendant,” said Verma, explaining about one such machine at a private hospital in south India.
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT
Experts say 50% people in India do not know they have high blood pressure. Of those who are aware of it, 50% do not go for medication. And those who go for medication and do not complete it make themselves vulnerable to the adverse impact, say doctors.
“Hence, if BP monitoring is commonly and conveniently available, one notices the health problem at an early stage and manages it well,” adds Usman.
A BUSINESS MODEL TOO
BP kiosks can also be a business model, just like weighing machines at railway stations where one is required to pay a Re 1 for the service. Experts say if the charge for measuring BP is kept between ₹10 and ₹20, many people would like to get their BP checked at least once in 15 days.
A status check at chemist shops in the state capital revealed that only a few of them provide facility for BP monitoring, which is not displayed publicly. Hence, only a few people are aware of this.
“Checking BP is a job that requires focus. If there are many customers in the shop, we cannot attend to just one person and leave the others,” said a medicine shop owner opposite Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Gomti Nagar.