Effectiveness of a community-based education and peer support led by women's self-help groups in improving the control of hypertension in urban slums of Kerala, India: a cluster randomised controlled pragmatic trial

BMJ Glob Health. 2022 Nov;7(11):e010296. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2022-010296.


Background: With less than 20% of people with hypertension achieving their target blood pressure (BP) goals, uncontrolled hypertension remains a major public health problem in India. We conducted a study to assess the effectiveness of a community-based education and peer support programme led by women's self-help group (SHG) members in reducing the mean systolic BP among people with hypertension in urban slums of Kochi city, Kerala, India.

Methods: A cluster randomised controlled pragmatic trial was conducted where 20 slums were randomised to either the intervention or the control arms. In each slum, participants who had elevated BP (>140/90) or were on antihypertensive medications were recruited. The intervention was delivered through women's SHG members (1 per 20-30 households) who provided (1) assistance in daily hypertension management, (2) social and emotional support to encourage healthy behaviours and (3) referral to the primary healthcare system. Those in the control arm received standard of care. The primary outcome was change in mean systolic BP (SBP) after 6 months.

Results: A total of 1952 participants were recruited-968 in the intervention arm and 984 in the control arm. Mean SBP was reduced by 6.26 mm Hg (SE 0.69) in the intervention arm compared with 2.16 mm Hg (SE 0.70) in the control arm; the net difference being 4.09 (95% CI 2.15 to 4.09), p<0.001.

Conclusion: This women's SHG members led community intervention was effective in reducing SBP among people with hypertension compared with those who received usual care, over 6 months in urban slums of Kerala, India.

Trial registration number: CTRI/2019/12/022252.

Keywords: Cluster randomized trial; Control strategies; Hypertension; Public Health.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / epidemiology
  • Hypertension* / therapy
  • India
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Self-Help Groups