The Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) corners set up in 54 upazila health complexes in six districts are playing a starring role in the treatment of hypertension and diabetes patients.
“I got worried after the diagnosis of my hypertension a year back. Later, I came to NCD corner at Fenchuganj Upazila Health Complex,” Shamim Kakoli, a schoolteacher of Uttar Kushiara in the upazila of Sylhet, told the Daily Sun on October 3.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 58 percent of the patients registered with the NCD corners have been able to keep their blood pressure under control through taking regular treatment and medicine at free of cost.
While visiting Fenchuganj Upazila Health Complex and community clinics in Beanibazar of Sylhet, this correspondent has found that the patients are doing screening, taking treatment and drugs of hypertension and diabetes and necessary lifestyle motivation at a free of cost from the NCD corners.
“If medicine supply is available in community clinics, we get relief from going to upazila health complexes. Medicine supply also will have to be increased as sometimes we don’t get all medicines in the scheduled time,” said Ahraf Ali, another schoolteacher of Dharon High School in Fenchuganj.
The DGHS said its Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme and the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB) jointly have set up NCD corners in 54 Upazila of six districts in 2019 to ensure proper treatment and control the non-communicable diseases. Progga (Knowledge for Progress) with the support of the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHI) has been working to strengthen and spread the project across the country.
“We’re working to set up NCD corners in 200 more upazilas in the country. In phases, NCD corners will be set up in all public district hospitals and medical college hospitals,” Prof Dr Robed Amin, line director (NCDC) of the DGHS, told the Daily Sun.
“Unhealthy foods and physical inactivity are the main risk factors for hypertension disease in the country,” he added.
According to the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, over 1.14 lakh adult hypertensive patients were detected after screening at the NCD corners in 54 upazilas of Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Kishoreganj and Jamalpur districts.
Of the total, over 43,000 hypertensive patients were detected only in NCD corners of 11 upazilas of Sylhet during the same time, the report added.
“Some 43,037 hypertension patients were registered after screening in NCD corners of Sylhet till September this year,” said Dr Shamim Jubayer, deputy programme manager of NHF-Resolve Hypertension Programme at the NHFB.
He informed that in the last three months, 61 per cent patients have been able to keep their blood pressure under control through taking regular treatment. The blood pressure of 11 percent patients was not under control. Some 28 per cent of patients didn’t take medicine regularly.
“A number of patients do not come to the NCD corners and don’t take medicine regularly due to lack of awareness, their personal business, a delay in getting drugs and many didn’t get satisfying treatment due to a huge rush of patients to NCD corners,” the NHFB official said.
Mentioning that the government has also plan to launch drug supply service to the hypertensive and diabetes patients also in community clinics, Dr Shamim said they already have started drug refilling services in Ghungadia and Chhoto Desh community clinics as a pilot programme.
Describing the process to get treatment and medicine from the NCD corners, Joynal Abedin, senior staff nurse working at NCD corner of Fenchuganj Upazila Health Complex, said after registering patients through an app they provide the patients with registration cards as identification cards for further services.
“Whenever patients come to our NCD corners, we identify them by scanning barcode inscribed on the cards where all necessary information regarding the patient’s previous records of blood pressure, diabetes and treatment are put regularly,” he added.
Fenchuganj Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer Dr Md Kamruzzaman said on average around 50 patients, including 30 hypertensive patients and 20 diabetes patients, take treatment every day at the NCD corners which were launched on April 19 in 2019.
“We provide four hypertensive drugs and two drugs for diabetic patients from the NCD corner totally free of cost. Alongside a screening of new patients, we also regularly carry out follow-up screen hypertension and diabetes conditions of the patients,” he added.
Kamruzzaman said 10 community clinics, which run under Fenchuganj Upazila Health Complex, refer hypertension and diabetes patients after screening to the NCD corners for treatment and medicine.
“It’s very much important to launch hypertension and diabetes drug supply services in community clinics to ensure regular medicine intake of patients. However, we are carrying on advocacy programme to strengthen and expand the services across the country,” Bangladesh Country Lead of Global Health Advocacy Incubator Muhammad Ruhul Kuddus told the Daily Sun.