Clinical, school, workplace based interventions planned to tackle the problem

The campaign to screen people above 30 years of age for four non-communicable diseases (NCD) has found a high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in the rural areas of Coimbatore. The other two diseases covered in the campaign are cervical and breast cancers.

Deputy Director of Public Health R. Damodharan told The Hindu that a pilot study conducted in Tamil Nadu found the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes to be 26.9 and 9.3 per cent respectively in rural areas.

However, the NCD screening campaign has found that in Coimbatore, the prevalence rates to be 36.45 and 28.2 per cent for hypertension and diabetes respectively, higher than the State average.

“The World Health Organisation has termed India as the emerging capital in the world for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. This campaign aims to reverse this trend,” he said. So far, he said that this campaign had detected 2,681 cases of hypertension in March and 2,613 in April. Further, the instances of diabetes detected for March and April was 1,071 and 1,024 respectively.

The Health Department was planning to initiate measures to tackle this high prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in rural areas. Clinical, school and workplace based interventions have been planned.

Exclusive rooms for conducting VIA VILI tests to detect cervical cancer have been established in all PHCs. Those found positive would be referred to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) for confirmatory tests.

Dr. Damodharan, who was the nodal officer for implementing this programme, said that it was being carried out in coordination with other departments such as School Education, Rural Development, Labour and Municipal Administration besides the Employees State Insurance Corporation.

This would increase the reach of this programme and ensure that a large section of the vulnerable population was brought under the ambit of this campaign.

Along with other Western districts such as Erode, Salem, Tirupur and the Nilgiris, Coimbatore was covered in the Phase II of this project. The southern districts such as Madurai and Dindigul were covered in Phase I.