Startling facts have emerged during a health drive undertaken by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation for adults above the age of 30. The health campaign found that as much as 30% of the 2.5 lakh people sampled from the 30+ age group, suffered from non-communicable (NCD) diseases such as diabetes, heart ailments, cervical cancer and hypertension among others. That means nearly 80,000 people of the 2,50,000 referred, need treatment for the mentioned ailments.
The AMC’s health drive was part of the health department’s “Nirmaya Scheme,” launched state-wide after the pandemic in November 2021, by CM Bhupendra Patel. The programme took off at Banaskantha and aims to focus on NCDs among people given that, all efforts during the pandemic were geared mainly on contagious diseases.
Screening of the above-30 population revealed that the incidence of non-communicable diseases is growing rapidly especially in this age group. The NCDs included diabetes, hypertension, oral, breast and cervical cancer, heart ailments, kidney issues and anaemia.
Under the scheme, Asha Health Workers visit people’s homes, fill up primary forms, ask for symptomatic disorders. Nearly 22 lakh forms, Community Based Assessment Checklists, have been filled up so far. Once done, Auxiliary Nurses and Midwives (ANM) visit suspect cases to get them screened by medical officers at Urban Health Centers (UHC). The people found suffering from NCDs were given treatment on basis of the diagnosis/suggestions of the medical officers.
In Ahmedabad, nearly nine lakh people have been screened so far, of which, 2,50,000 individuals were referred to the UHC for suspected NCD. Of these, as many as 80,000 people were detected with non-communicable diseases.
Under the scheme, patients are given medicines free of cost every month. The medicines are expensive, ranging between Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per month.
According to AMC officials, Ahmedabad has a population of about 70 lakhs. Of this, over 35 lakh people are above 30 years of age. “It is a challenging task for Asha workers as well as ANM nurses because people are hesitant to share medical history,” added insiders.
Diagnosis and health data analysis of people who visit UHCs for diagnosis is under process. As of the past 16 months, about 41,582 people have been diagnosed with diabetes and 38,030 with hypertension. Also, 392 cases of kidney ailments have been identified. AMC’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Bhavin Solanki, explained that since this is an ongoing process, there is a possibility of finding more NCD cases in the coming days.