A center to train doctors in how to intervene in cases of hypertension has opened in Guizhou province.
The first provincial-level center in China, it was set up to help residents of the relatively poor province avoid and manage the condition.
Yun Zhenqiu, director of the hypertension department at Anzhen Hospital in Beijing, who is also deputy director of the Chinese Rural Health Association, was brought in to head the center.
"The grassroots level is the key for effective hypertension control, so the center is committed to building capabilities through the targeted training of local medics," said Yu at a two-day training program in Guiyang, attended by more than 400 physicians and health officials from the province.
Largely because of a high-salt diet, nearly 30 percent of adults in the region suffer from high blood pressure, data from the provincial health administration showed.
According to Zhang Guangqi, deputy health chief of Guizhou, only 10 percent of the patients have their condition under control. Left uncontrolled, hypertension can lead to other serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and kidney problems.
When doctors at county-level hospitals understand how to intervene in hypertension, the number of people able to control the disease is expected to rise substantially, Zhang said.
According to Anzhen Hospital's Yu, various programs－including lectures and on-the-job training－are conducted at the Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University, where the center is located.
Notably, a telemedicine system will be used to help deliver the training to as many doctors as possible, particularly those at grassroots-level medical facilities that are hard to reach, said Liu Jian, who heads the hospital.
Yu will also travel to other lower-level hospitals to see patients and help train doctors there, he said.
Related specialties, such as kidney disease, endocrinology, the nervous system and maternity, will be covered in the training as well, said Yu, who first introduced the concept of a complex control approach to hypertension in the country.
As all these specialties are interrelated, he said, "getting hypertension under control helps with intervention in heart disease". He added that intervention in hypertension plays a role in early detection and prevention of stroke.
Nationwide, China has 270 million hypertension patients, and the condition continues to become more widespread, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission. About 46 percent of the sufferers are aware of their condition, and 41 percent receive treatment. However, only 14 percent have their blood pressure under control.