Govt conducts prevalence study

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
The Nepal Health Research Council has hired 45 health professionals to carry out the survey on the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in 72 districts across the country

Sep 19, 2016-Amid growing concerns about the danger of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Nepal Health Research Council has begun a large-scale research on the prevalence of the diseases for the first time in the country.

With a sample size of 13,200, taken from 400 wards in 72 districts, this research will test the prevalence of diseases including Coronary Artery Disorder (heart disease), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (CoPD), chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Although cancer is also included, the information has to be self-reported. The survey does not cover Manang, Mustang and Humla districts. 

The NHRC, under the Ministry of Health and Population, took up the project in order to facilitate informed policy decisions while planning and allocating budget for the NCDs. The World Health Organisation estimates that NCDs caused 51 percent of the total deaths in Nepal in 2010 and 60 percent in 2014.

Dr Krishna Kumar Aryal, chief of the research section at the NHRC, said they have hired 45 health professionals for data collection. In case of heart diseases, ECG will be conducted and for CoPD, spirometry or a common lung function test will be used. For kidney diseases and diabetes, tests including of blood and urine will be conducted.

“The report will help identify key areas where immediate intervention is necessary,” said Dr Aryal, adding that they plan to complete the research by February next year.

A research conducted among hospitalised patients by the NHRC in 2009/10 showed that 37 percent of the deaths were caused by the NCDs. The 2014/15 report of the Health Management Information System of the Department of Health Services noted that over 85 percent of hospital admissions were for non-communicable diseases while 69 percent of the persons who visited out-patient departments had NCD issues.

Health Minister Gagan Thapa recently vowed “to undertake targeted screening for early diagnosis, as well as to increase health guidance and counselling to promote healthy choices and self-care” in a Regional Committee Meeting held in Colombo. The Colombo Declaration, signed by health ministers of 11 South-East Asian countries, urges the governments to increase services on NCDs in primary health care.

Published: 19-09-2016 07:37

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