सोमबार, माघ २३, २०७९

Non Communicable Disease (NCDs) & COVID-19

नेपालखोज २०७७ वैशाख १४ गते १३:११

-Rashmi Dhungana

Public Health Professional


Health aspects has been linked since the ancient times with the risk of infectious diseases, and moreover, it is linked to the marginalized and minorities or we can say to the developing nations like us. Then, in recent health transition, there has been rapid growth in the occurrence of western lifestyle exposures which has been increasing the deadly risk to develop an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, cancers). Apart from these lifestyles, this array of diseases may be linked to genetic and cultural factors that requires a standardized methodological research approach to generate scientifically sound evidence.


Now coming to the 2019–20 corona virus pandemic, this is an ongoing pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome. The outbreak was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, declared to be a Public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020, and has been recognized as a pandemic on 11 March 2020 and till date more than 2 lakhs people has lost their lives worldwide. While the USA has been reported to have highly growing number of deaths, Nepal has registered 51 cases so far in which 12 of them has been cured and others are under treatment.  As to address to the current pandemic, the government has restricted the movement through lockdown approach as to break the transmission chain. Vigorous contact tracing is ongoing, and has reached more than 9000 RD-PCR tests and more than 15000 Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) so far.


Being the Global health emergency, there will always be the vulnerable ones including children, pregnant women, differently able, elderlies and those having the NCDs.  Now the main concern is; According to NCD Global status 2017, more than 60% death worldwide is recorded due to various NCD and is recorded more after the age of 60. According to “WHO”, if we see the death rates of the current Pandemic, it has been more prevalent to elderly 60+ (~28%) and those having NCDs are much higher. It is given that those having various pre-health conditions, the confirmed deaths of COVID-19 are like CVD-13.2%, Diabetes-9.2%, Chronic Respiratory disease- 8%, Hypertension-8.4% and Cancer- 7.6% and those having no pre-health condition are only 0.9% till date.


But the question still remains; is there a need to re-evaluate and expand early community and individual preventive and control strategies that will lead to reduce and even eliminate NCDs for the prevention of emergence and reemergence of various infectious diseases?


Promotion of Healthy lifestyle includes nutrition, sanitation and timely health screening. This has been the most effective preventive measures so far and in this context investing in NCD. Preventive approaches can make people immune towards upcoming health challenges. As for communicable diseases, favoring early access to prevention and total care of non-communicable conditions can be the best strategy to prevent long-term life-threatening and costly sequel which help in minimizing the burden so far.