Yaroslavl Hypertension Program

Partnership objective

Address high death rates from stroke and heart disease in Yaroslavl region of Russia.

Patients and healthcare practitioners changed their behavior with regard to health, as result of a long-term process, which also contributed to improve the patients’ health outcomes in the region. Patients and healthcare practitioners changed their behavior with regard to health, as result of a long-term process, which also contributed to improve the patients’ health outcomes in the region. Copyright Novartis Foundation

What are the health needs and challenges?

In 2011, life expectancy in the Yaroslavl’s region had not improved since the 1960s, with an average age of 72 for women and 64 for men. In Russia, the official death rate from stroke and heart disease was five times higher than the average of the other countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

The Yaroslavl program is an innovative collaboration between the local health authority and Novartis, aimed at addressing the high death rate from stroke and heart disease. Drawing on more than two decades’ experience from a Canadian hypertension education program, as well as Novartis Healthcare Systems’ expertise, the four-year Yaroslavl program was launched in 2011 at a cardiac center in the city of Yaroslavl, the region’s capital.

Work began with a wide-ranging diagnostic study involving almost 2,000 patients, to see how their hypertension was being managed. Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with more than 500 patients to better understand how people themselves viewed their disease and its management.

The research findings enabled a Novartis team to devise a comprehensive plan to address the root causes of poor blood pressure control in Yaroslavl. Clinical treatment guidelines were updated to align with national standards and these were sent to all clinics across the region. Promotional materials and education sessions for healthcare practitioners spread information about the program.

After enrolling 500 doctors in nearly 40 clinics across the region, the program aimed to raise the awareness of thousands of patients through a public education campaign which used television advertising and a poster on municipal buildings, public transport and outdoor advertisements.

Overall, the Yaroslavl Hypertension program aimed to persuade patients and healthcare practitioners to adapt their behaviors. Specifically, it encouraged medical staff to routinely monitor patients’ blood pressure and educate people about the causes of high blood pressure such as adapting their diet and participating in regular exercise, reducing their consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and monitoring their own weight and blood pressure at home.

Lessons learned                          

Patients and healthcare practitioners changed their behavior as result of a long-term process, which generally contributed to improve the patients’ health outcomes in the region. 

The Yaroslavl program shows it is possible to address one enduring challenge in global health: even when the latest medicines and healthcare technology are available, people often fail to benefit. The reasons vary, but are often linked to the way doctors, nurses, patients and hospitals interact in their efforts to keep people healthy.

Finding more effective ways to care for people is increasingly important at a time when  governments and payers in many parts of the world face a difficult challenge delivering better quality healthcare to more people who are living longer, all in a time of economic uncertainty. 

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Since its start, the Yaroslavl Hypertension Program has helped reducing:

  • deaths from strokes in the region by 27%
  • deaths from heart attacks by 12%
  • overall hospitalization of hypertension by 16%

The program has involved thousands of patients and its promising results were presented internationally. Discussions are currently ongoing to see how lessons learned could be applied to other regions of Russia.


Yaroslavl Hypertension Improvement Partnership Project

Partnership information

Company(ies) Novartis

Partner(s) Russian Ministry of Health

Type of Partner(s) Government

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases

Disease(s) Hypertension

Program Type(s) Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Region(s) Europe & Central Asia

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Russia

Start Date 2011

More information Yaroslavl Hypertension Program Four-year data on Yaroslavl program

Completed date 2015

« There are thousands of people still walking around out there today who would otherwise have died. »

Dr. Sergey Eregin, Chief Cardiologist in the Yaroslavl Region