Pakistan is faced with Triple burden of Infectious, Chronic and NCDs-Dr. Adnan Hyder


 AKUH’s 20th National Health Sciences Research Symposium

Pakistan is faced with Triple burden of Infectious,
Chronic and NCDs - Dr. Adnan Hyder

Most of the patients suffering from Hypertension and Diabetes
 Un-diagnosed which is un-treated burden

KARACHI: Pakistan is currently facing a triple burden of infectious, chronic and Non-communicable diseases. A vast majority of the patients suffering from hypertension and diabetes mellitus remain un-diagnosed which is an un-treated burden. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have increased as compared to infectious diseases and almost 61% mortality is due to Ischemic Heart Diseases. This was stated by Dr. Adnan Ali Hyder an eminent researcher from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA. He was delivering the keynote speech at the inaugural session of 20th National Health Sciences Research Symposium of Aga Khan University Hospital held here from November 3-5, 2017. The Theme of the symposium this year was “ Heart and Lungs: from Prevention to Regeneration” which attracted research scientists and academicians from all over the country besides a good number of guest speakers, the AKU Alumni from overseas.

Speaking about Global Burden of Disease-Heart and Lung Disorders in Perspective Dr. Adnan Ali Hyder supplemented his presentation with a large number informative slides showing data from numerous studies. He also talked about global initiatives and the national challenges. His presentation was based on the Global Burden of Diseases 2016 data. He tried to clear many myths as well. The first one was that infectious diseases are dominating and showed data which revealed that 53.4% of the disease burden was of Non-Communicable Diseases. It is a treatable and preventable burden. Deaths from NCDs, he further stated were increasing.

The second myth which he tried to dispel was that NCDs affect the elderly which he stated was not true. He showed different studies to point out that the NCDs start in 30s which means it affects the people in younger age and much early. At present IHD, he further stated, was the leading cause of death between the ages of 15-49 years of age.

As regards disability, the years spent before death, here again it is much more due to Non-Communicable Diseases. These patients suffer for long from disability. Another myth he stated was the NCDs affect men only which was again not true. Studies have shown that NCDs are common in men as well as women both. The difference is about 10-15% at the most. It is also said that NCDs are diseases of development but studies have again showed that four out of ten people in Asia die due to NCDs whereas the figure for the developed world were five out of ten. In Asia and many developing countries deaths due to diarrheal diseases have reduced considerably due to dedicated work of pediatricians and researchers. However, chronic respiratory diseases, Dr. Adnan Ali Hyder pointed out were increasing.

Coming to Pakistan, he pointed out that studies done in 2014 had showed that a vast majority of hypertension and diabetes patients remain un-diagnosed and untreated. There are too many deaths due to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma. Mortality from cancer was also very high. Another study currently underway shows that almost 40-45% of the poorest of poor in the world suffer from NCDs. In view of the above the NGOs and the private sector, Dr. Adnan Hyder opined has to come forward to play its role. We have recently used Mobile App to do survey for Hypertension and reduction in use of salt. He concluded his presentation by stating that NCDs management demand multidisciplinary approach. He urged the audience to join the movement for Health and Social Justice and remember human capital is your most valuable asset, he remarked.

Earlier Mr. Firoze Rasul President of AKU in his address said that we have to engage in research which has value to mankind. It is said that one out of four people will die due to heart and lung disease. We at AKU have established various centers of excellence in cardiovascular, Women and Child Health, Oncology, Neurosciences. We concentrate on education and research. We established a center in Kenya in Nairobi as well. We keep on doing innovations and hopefully soon the risky open heart surgery will be eliminated with a new procedure which will be started at AKU very soon. We have established Centre for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME). Solutions to many problems are now being found because of combination of technology. We recently used Mobile App to monitor the vaccination of children. This provides us information about the whereabouts of vaccinators, stock of vaccines and how many children are being vaccinated. With this the vaccination coverage improved from 23 to 90%, he added.

Prof. Farhat Abbas Dean AKU talked about historical background of how this research symposium started and how the topic is selected every year. We ensure that every year there are some messages. We follow those ideas to being some change. We take up some action points at the end of every symposium, he added.

Prof. David Arthur Dean School of Nursing and Midwifery in his speech emphasized the importance of inter-professional collaboration and evidence based research, evidence based practices. We have recently started Master of Science in Nursing besides courses in different specialty nursing, he added.

Prof. Saulat Fatimi Chairman of the organizing committee who had proposed the theme of Heart and Lung for the symposium in his welcome address said that AKU is an institution. It comes up with ideas which changes the practice. In fact AKU is the benchmark in South East Asia. Each time it comes up with new ideas in education and research. We need to find solutions to our problems with indigenous research. We have tried to involve all the different specialties in medicine and nursing school. Most of the invited guest speakers are our own AKU Alumni. We had nineteen pre-symposium workshops and a large number of post-symposium workshops are planned during the two days. We have also organized counselling sessions with the Mentors at Breakfast session so as to utilize their time effectively. He thanked all those who contributed towards the organization of this symposium in different ways.

The Research Symposium programme included numerous Key Note lectures and presentations by various speakers in different sessions. Some of these presentations will be covered in the coming issues.

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