Gov­ern­ment launches pro­gram for di­a­betes

The Myanmar Times - - News - MYINT KAY my­in­tkaythi@mm­times.com KYAW KO KO kyawkoko@mm­times.com

PRO­GRAMS for di­a­betes pa­tients will be added to 10 town­ships across five re­gions, said the De­part­ment of Public Health’s non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease di­rec­tor U Myint Shwe.

The pro­gram, which could be in place as early as Oc­to­ber, aims to serve cur­rent pa­tients, de­tect the dis­ease early, and direct pa­tients to the ap­pro­pri­ate de­part­ments or hos­pi­tals.

Health staff and mid­wives will be trained in early de­tec­tion, glu­come­ter us­age and sup­port tech­niques.

It will be ad­min­is­tered un­der the Pack­age of Es­sen­tial Non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­ease (PEN) project, which started as a pilot pro­gram in Yan­gon Re­gion’s Hlegu and Hmawbi town­ships in 2012.

“Peo­ple don’t no­tice such dis­eases be­cause it is dif­fer­ent from in­fec­tious dis­eases,” said U Myint Shwe on Au­gust 19. “And mid­dle-aged peo­ple suf­fer most from the dis­ease, which af­fects the coun­try’s work­force. As it is re­lated with the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment, we need to do to re­duce the rate of the risk fac­tor level in the pop­u­la­tion.”

The 10 new town­ships are lo­cated in Yan­gon, Mandalay and Bago re­gions, Mon State, and Nay Pyi Taw.

“Health­care ser­vice for di­a­betes is not reach­ing the vil­lage level,” said De­part­ment of Public Health pro­gram man­ager U Ko Ko. “One out of ev­ery two peo­ple in vil­lages could have di­a­betes based on the re­sults in Hlegu and Hmawbi town­ships.”

PEN aims to pro­vide early de­tec­tion and pri­mary health­care ser­vices for non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, which in­clude di­a­betes, can­cer and re­lated res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses in ru­ral ar­eas, he added.

Ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion of cig­a­rettes, to­bacco and al­co­hol, un­healthy life­style, and lack of proper phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity are ma­jor fac­tors that af­fect chronic non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease, the De­part­ment of Health said.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2014 re­port from the Myan­mar Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion, 10.5 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion has di­a­betes and an­other 19.7pc has pre-di­a­betes symp­toms. Most of those peo­ple with di­a­betes do not know they have it, the study found. More than one-quar­ter of the pop­u­la­tion has hy­per­ten­sion and an­other 5.5pc is obese, the study found.

The death toll due to non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases in ASEAN coun­tries was 8.5 mil­lion an­nu­ally, with nearly half of those deaths be­ing pre­ma­ture, ac­cord­ing to a 2014 World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion study.

“The main chal­lenge is that non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases are seen not only in ur­ban ar­eas but also in ru­ral ar­eas,” said U Ko Ko. “It is dif­fi­cult for peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas to get to ur­ban ar­eas for treat­ment if they suf­fer from such dis­eases. Our de­part­ment will pro­vide medicines and dis­ease di­ag­no­sis equip­ment. If the area is too far from a doc­tor, the health staff in the re­gion will be trained to give treat­ment to the pa­tients in the ru­ral area.”

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

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