Puducherry to screen over-30s for disease

Chennai, March 28 (IANS) The Puducherry government, in partnership with two pharmaceutical firms, will kick-start a mass screening programme of its seven lakh citizens over 30 years of age for non-communicable diseases, an official said.

This is the first time that a government is undertaking such a programme in the country. The screening process is likely to begin next month.
Speaking to IANS over phone from Puducherry, a health department official said: “We have tied up with two companies – Novo Nordisk and Abbott Healthcare – to initially screen around three lakh people for ailments like diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia (abnormal levels of cholesterol or fat in blood) and thyroid problems. Initially, we plan to screen a total of 300,000 people and then we will screen another 400,000.”
Out of Puducherry’s total population of around 1.2 million, nearly 700,000 are over 30 years of age, the official said.
According to him, the screening will be done at government-run public health centres located in Puducherry, Karaikal and Mahe. It will be free of cost.
The union territory has 42 public health centres.
“People diagnosed with any ailment(s) will be given a health card for follow-up,” he said.
According to the official, Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangaswamy is very enthusiastic about the programme.
In a statement issued here Thursday, Abbott Healthcare said the company would provide subsidised diagnostics, educational support to healthcare providers, patient awareness material and also conduct diet guidance camps.
“Abbott will also provide Non-Communicable Disease management kits (including supplies to measure blood pressure, body mass index and blood glucose) and 1,50,000 glucose test strips free of cost to support monitoring of diabetes, as well as access to a unique internationally-recognised, evidence-based disease risk and health assessment tools,” the statement said.
“The assessment of population-level data of diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol and thyroid disorders will project the likely disease pattern over a period of three years, thereby enabling a targeted approach to reduce the Union Territory’s disease burden and also favourably impact the associated social and economic burden,” Abbott said.