One man, 441 people, and a community for healthier hearts

MAY 16, 2017 |

PATH _ Bringing blood pressure monitoring services to the community is transforming access to chronic disease management in Vietnam.

An animated man leans forward on a chair.
“Most people [still don’t know] the risks and complications related to hypertension,” says Mr. Phu. “Some people might feel dizzy and have a headache. They come to me for a blood pressure check and are surprised when [they learn] they have high blood pressure levels. I then tell them to go to a health clinic to confirm the diagnosis.” Photo: PATH.

Meet Mr. Ta Van Phu, a retired health worker and former leader in the military. With pen and pencil in his left pocket, glasses squarely centered on his face, and a shoulder bag containing his blood pressure monitor and educational materials about heart disease, Mr. Phu is a welcome sight as he walks from house to house in his neighborhood.

Roughly one year ago, the Communities for Healthy Hearts project (CH2), developed by PATH, the Ho Chi Minh City Provincial Health Department, and the Novartis Foundation, was looking for individuals who could volunteer to help combat hypertension in their communities. That’s when Mr. Phu offered his expertise. Actually, he was nominated by his neighbors since he was already offering medical support and advice whenever they needed him.

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