Nima Wangdi  

The recent Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) screening that the ministry of health conducted has found Hypertension to be predominant among civil servants and corporate employees. They were screened for Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma, mental illness, and heart and kidney diseases.

Of the 2,391 people screened in 18 organizations including ministries, 288 were found to be suffering from Hypertension. Diabetes stands second with 64, and mental illness follows with 48.

The screening also found 28 people suffer from Asthma, 18 suffer from heart diseases, and 25 have renal diseases.

The report stated that Bhutan Power Corporation has the highest number of people suffering from mental illness with 11 of the 413 screened. The airport has eight out of 335, Bhutan Broadcasting Service Limited has six of 186, and Druk Green Power Corporation also has six out of 158 screened.

Being overweight is also seen as one of the highest biological risk factors among those screened. A total of 46.6 percent were found overweight.

It was also found that 1,149 people drank alcohol among the total number of people screened. According to the report, a total of 520 were found to be using tobacco products.

Department of Public Health conducted screening from October 20 to November 30 this year in collaboration with Gidakom hospital.

The report stated that health screening and aggressive public advocacy have become priority activities to prevent and ensure early detection of NCDs, especially lifestyle-related diseases and nutritional deficiency disorder which is increasingly becoming a public health concern. NCDs account for approximately 69 percent of the mortality in the country.

The primary cause of major NCDs is a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, and consumption of alcohol and tobacco according to the report. “The civil servants, corporate employees, and private agencies are at major risk of NCDs owing to the nature of work and lifestyles.”

It is imperative for the government, corporate and private employees to remain healthy so as to contribute efficiently and effectively to developmental activities and public services.

HIV self-testing and sample collection for H.Pylori screening were included in the later stage of the screening program.

As of November 30, a total of 2,391 civil servants and corporate employees were screened for NCDs and almost 20% (471) of the employees working in various ministries and agencies were reported to be living with at least one NCD. Most of them were on treatment.

The ministries and agencies are recommended to incorporate the health screening activities into the AWP and IWP of the health focal person/HROs. However, the test kits and basic consumables, and logistics for the screening team should be arranged by the respective agencies.

Establishment of NCD corners within the premises for their staff to regularly check their BP and BMI is also recommended.