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Cardio-vascular diseases on the rise in Godavari districts: study

Tech edge:Health workers undergoing training in android-based SMART Health India app, in Bhimavaram on Thursday. —Photo: A.V.G. Prasad

Tech edge:Health workers undergoing training in android-based SMART Health India app, in Bhimavaram on Thursday. —Photo: A.V.G. Prasad  

Incidence of cardio-vascular diseases (CVD) is on the rise in East and West Godavari districts, according to a study conducted by the Rural Andhra Pradesh Cardio Vascular Healthcare System (RAPCVHS).

The study conducted in 50 villages falling under the two districts revealed that the CVD-aided mortality rate accounted for as high as 30 per cent.

According to D. Praveen, Senior Research Fellow, George Institute for Global Health (GIGH), one of the partner agencies engaged in the study, 6,000 deaths were taken up for investigation.

Accidents/injuries caused 13 per cent of deaths and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS accounted for 12 per cent, Mr. Praveen told The Hindu on Thursday.

He was here to take stock of the arrangements for the launch of a GIGH-sponsored research project in 55 risk-prone villages in the district to combat the CVD cases.

The GIGH has developed a phone-based clinical decision support system known as SMART Health India, and implemented it in 11 villages in the district on a pilot basis, and efforts are under way for its extension to 55 villages in the next phase.

Causes

Sedentary lifestyle, consumption of fat-rich food, alcohol, and smoking habits are found to be the major causes for the rise in CVD cases in the two districts.

Death certificates were not available to know the nature and causes of the deaths in the select villages at the time of study, necessitating a verbal autopsy method in which a set of trained interviewers/healthcare workers were involved to collect the data from the near and dear of the dead in the form of question and answers.

An android-based app (SMART Health India) developed by the GIGH records blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other heart disease risk factors such as age, sex, and smoking status, and analyses the data to indicate the extent of cardio-vascular disease risk.

“The data from the app is automatically transmitted to a remote server and to the doctors in Primary Health Centres concerned for a follow- up action,” Mr. Praveen said. It was also revealed in the study that use of medications for CVD disorders was very poor in the risk group.

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