Reducing peoples’ risk of NCDs
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, hypertension, diabetes, pulmonary diseases, etc have almost become an epidemic in recent time Bangladesh. And peoples' lack of awareness about their lifestyle is one of the main causes for it. These chronic diseases of long duration are also the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors.
However, according to a survey report titled 'Bangladesh NCD Risk Factor Survey 2018' recently revealed that NCDs cause 60 per cent deaths every year in Bangladesh while about 97 per cent people are at risk of NCDs. Due to these diseases, especially the cardiovascular ones, many people are not only dying at an early age, these diseases are also responsible for huge health expenditure for people who are managing them for a long time.
Even a few decades ago, in the West the incidence of heart attacks was much less than it is now, thanks to the modern technological breakthroughs as well as people's increased awareness. But here in Bangladesh cardiac events are on the increase. While people here in general are way behind in taking preventive care of the disease, the treatment of the disease is still mostly Dhaka-centric. There are quite a few government medical colleges across the country, but only in few, bypass surgeries or installing stents are performed. Still, because of financial and other constraints, patients who live at remote areas often fail to avail treatments from the capital.
In Bangladesh, people in general also do not give attention to their health. The survey also found that of the country's total population, 70.8 per cent have never checked their blood glucose level. Among men, 73.6 per cent have never measured blood glucose level, while the rate among women is 68.5 per cent. In view of the existing health scenario, it is the government health authorities that have to urgently take decisive and holistic actions to prevent and cure the non-communicable diseases.
It is lamentable that the national policy and strategy and plan of action for NCDs surveillance and prevention have not been put in force properly. When logistic support in the medical college hospitals for diagnosis and management of NCDs is far short of what is necessary, one can hardly expect that rural population would get adequate health care support according to their needs.