Seychelles launches national survey on cardiovascular and non-communicable diseases

According to the annual health sector performance report of 2022, cardiovascular diseases are attributed to 280 deaths in Seychelles – 30 percent of total deaths. (Wikimedia/Volganet.ruCC-BY-SA 3.0

Seychelles’ health ministry is launching a new population-based survey on cardiovascular diseases and other non-communicable diseases to assess the distribution of health behaviours, diet and main risk factors in the whole population.

The survey, which will be conducted from mid-August 2023 until December 2023, will help local health authorities start the process to establish a better database on cardiovascular diseases.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are those not transmitted through infections from person to person such as heart diseases, diabetes and cancer.

According to the annual health sector performance report of 2022, cardiovascular diseases attributed to 280 deaths in Seychelles – 30 percent of total deaths, followed by cancer at 159 deaths which is 17 percent.

“The aim of the study is so that we can see the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and other NCDs in Seychelles,” explained Bharathi Viswanathan, programme manager for NCDs.

She said that this will allow the authorities to have information on how many people have them.

A random selection of 18 to 74-year-old living in Seychelles has been chosen with the help of the National Bureau of Statistics for a survey that will study people’s behaviours, lifestyles in relation to non-communicable diseases in the country.

“We will have the chance to see if those who have the diseases are properly following their treatments to control them in addition to maybe discovering new cases of the disease,” she said.

The Ministry of Health is receiving help from its local partners, Seychelles Petroleum Company (Seypec) and the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) for funding to carry out the survey.

For the first time, there will also be a screening for cancer with the information being collected used to better design screening methods and provide an accurate picture of the situation in the country.

“The survey will help us adjust our services to the information we collect with this new group,” said cardiovascular health official, Dr Pascal Bovet.

In addition to information concerning NCDs, the team will also ask questions about mental health, and whether there are certain impairments, which will also be very helpful to the social services databases.

Other studies carried out in the western Indian Ocean archipelago had shown an increase in obesity in children and the diseases associated with it.

However, Bovet allayed the fears by explaining that risks for such illnesses in Seychelles have decreased, however, with a growing and ageing population numbers will appear larger.

“We have evidence here in Seychelles that the risks have also decreased – a 45-year-old man now has less risks of cardiovascular diseases than his father did at the same age,” he expanded.

Bovet attributed the improvement to a variety of reasons such as better treatment or people adopting healthier lifestyles.

Meanwhile, the 15 person- strong team undertaking the survey are health officials from various units in the ministry, and will see participants from 6.30 am to 8.30 am during weekdays, targeting at least 20 people per day”.

Preliminary results will be provided to the participants of the survey – although the questions and tests have been set in a manner to provide rather general information on the participants’ health.

For Praslin and La Digue, the second and third most inhabited islands, health officials will be coming to the islands in October to see the participants.

The survey will conclude in December, after which the officials will work on a report of the findings to present in January next year.

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