Prevention of non-communicable diseases in Sri Lanka

Saturday, 20 November 2010 00:14 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Ministry of Health (MoH) organised a health screening programme for 1,200 staff members early this week. Dr. T. R. C. Ruberu, the Secretary of Health and senior officials of the Ministry participated in the programme.

The programme included check-ups on height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), blood glucose, total cholesterol, eye, dental, general counselling and other optional check-ups like cancer screening. It was initiated to assess the health status of staff members.

The programme at the Ministry is the first in its history and will serve as a model when introducing health screening programmes at other work places in the future.

“We congratulate the MoH on this momentous occasion for its commitment to prevent and control NCDs and recognise this initiative, which provides easily-accessible and comprehensive health check-ups to MoH staff and strengthens their knowledge on NCDs, as a milestone achievement in addressing the growing health and economic burden of chronic NCDs. And the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is pleased to support this initiative through technical cooperation,” JICA Sri Lanka Chief Representative Akira Shimura said.

Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Japan Kaoru Shimazaki visited the screening site to officially hand over posters, flipchart and checkup manuals for NCD prevention to the Secretary of Health. These materials were developed by MoH with the cooperation of JICA.

Since May 2008, JICA has been assisting the MoH in implementing the “Health Promotion and Preventive Care Measures of Chronic NCDs”, (also known as the NCD Prevention Project or NPP). The NPP aims to prevent the development of risk factors for cardio-vascular diseases by introducing health check-ups, health guidance and health promotion programmes at the primary and secondary healthcare institutions and in communities. At present, it is also conducting a study in the Ragama area to identify evidence-based risk factors of cardiovascular diseases.

During the past two and a half years, intervention guidelines for health check-ups, guidance and promotions have been drafted and various intervention tools and activities in Kurunegala and Polonnaruwa have been pilot-tested for technical, institutional and financial feasibility in implementation and for islandwide expansion under the NPP project.

“I hope these NCD prevention materials will be useful and will be fully utilised across Sri Lanka soon,” said Shimura. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is the executing agency of Japan’s Bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA). JICA, the world’s biggest bilateral aid agency, works in over 150 countries and regions.

In accordance with its vision of “Inclusive and Dynamic Development,” JICA supports the resolution of development issues in developing countries. In Sri Lanka, Japan has been providing financial and technical assistance since 1954 and is the biggest donor to the country. On behalf of the people and the Government of Japan, JICA contributes to improve lives of the people in Sri Lanka.