Has the PEN pilot been evaluated? Where can we find the evaluation report online?
Diabetes health care to be expanded
Myint Kay Thi
17 Nov 2017
Primary health care services covering diabetes will be implemented in 70 townships this year, and further expanded in designated zones of remote and rural areas, said Dr Ko Ko, program manager for diabetes under the Ministry of Health and Sports.
He said that about 20,000 gluco-meters were bought by the program to be distributed in rural and sub-rural health centres to diagnose with the help of health staffs, including midwives and medical assistants.
“This is a part of PEN project. We have been training the medical staffs involved in the program on how to provide health care services,” he added.
Package of Essential Noncommunicable diseases (PEN) project is led by the Department of Public Health, noncommunicable disease unit, aiming to provide early detection and primary health care services for such illnesses, including diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and respiratory related diseases.
“The PEN project aims to reach rural areas but some urban area also included. In particular, the project is providing hypertension and diabetes care in rural area” said Dr Ko Ko. “Health education, primary diagnose and referral system are also include in the project,”
PEN project would be implemented in 70 townships this year, and will expand to 100 townships in the coming year, said Dr Ko Ko. The project started in two townships in Yangon in 2012, as a pilot program.
“The ministry plans to implement PEN projects in all townships eventually,” he added.
Prof Tint Swe Latt, President of Myanmar Diabetes Association (MMDA), also known as a diabetes specialist, said that 2.5 million of Myanmar people are suffering from diabetes and five million people are pre-diabetic according to the 2014 data.
According to the latter, implemented by WHO and the Ministry of Health and Sport, 10.5 pc of Myanmar people are suffering from diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes in the country is 9 pc in rural area and 14 pc in urban area.
“In Myanmar, the prevalence of diabetes is increasing. It targeted 6 pc of the population in 2003 and 10.5 pc in 2014. It means one in 10 people are suffering from diabetes in Myanmar. That is a cause for concern,” said Prof Tint Swe Latt.
A 35-year-old woman from South Dagon township, Yangon, said that “last month, [she] was diagnosed due with exhaustion caused by diabetes. Now [she] needs insulin to treat diabetes. Early prevention is better as diabetes is a long-term problem.”
Health problems such as blindness, heart attack, kidney disease, stroke, neuropathy, lower limb amputation can result from diabetes, said Dr Ko Ko.
He mentioned that “Early detection is the best way to cure and to prevent secondary health problems. Diabetes is a long-term disease but a preventable disease. A healthy lifestyle, diet, good exercise are important.”
“Preventive measures include eating healthy, physical activity, not smoking or drinking alcohol, avoiding overly sugary foods and saturated fats intake.”
According to WHO, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes in 2015.