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Philippine project: The Nueva Ecija Cardiovascular Health Study (NECHS)

Background

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for one third of all deaths, making it the leading cause of deaths worldwide (Roth et al., 2015). In the Philippines, 30% of deaths are attributable to cardiovascular conditions (WHO, 2012), which is close to the global average. The high rate of CVD mortality in the country is partly the consequence of high prevalence of associated risk factors: raised blood pressure at 22%, smoking at 25%, physical inactivity at 46%, overweight/obesity at 31% and borderline-high cholesterol at 47% (FNRI-DOST, 2015). However, these rates are not higher than those of the high-income countries in the region that have considerably lower CVD-related mortality (WHO, 2012). This suggests deficiencies in the prevention and control of CVD given exposure to risks.

Study Objectives

The main objective of the study is to generate evidence that will help improve prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Specifically:

  1. To understand how beliefs about CVD risks affect health lifestyles and demand for preventive care.
  2. To assess the effectiveness of government programs in delivering primary prevention of CVDs.

Project activities

The main project activity is the implementation of interventions designed to improve the health seeking behavior of people who are at risk of developing CVDs. A baseline survey and a follow up survey six months after would be used to assess the impacts of the interventions on selected individuals. The questionnaire includes questions about health, lifestyle (e.g., diet, exercise), perception of health risks and health care use, as well as employment, and education. Physical measurements will be conducted as part of the instrument. Accupoll, Inc. is the survey partner of UPecon for this study.

The project will cover all 32 LGUs in the province of Nueva Ecija. Surveys will be undertaken in 304 urban and rural barangays, within the catchment areas of 63 rural health units (RHUs) and city health centers (CHCs). The project activities are endorsed by the provincial health office (PHO) and the local government officials of Nueva Ecija.

To disseminate the results of the study, the team will hold public presentations and seminars, and participate in conferences. The target audience include the Department of Health, local chief executives and health officers of Nueva Ecija, and policymakers and other stakeholders in the Philippines. Research digests and policy notes will also be uploaded in the website.

The UPecon NECHS Study Team

The principal investigators are Joseph J. Capuno and Aleli D. Kraft of the University of the Philippines (UP), Owen O’Donnell from the University of Lausanne and Erasmus University Rotterdam. The rest of the research team include Carlos Antonio R. Tan, Jr., Kristine Anne Gloria, Precious Juzenda Montilla and Ermi Amor F. Yap of UPecon, and Evgenia Kudymowa from Erasmus University Rotterdam.

References

  • Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) (2015). Philippine Nutrition Facts and Figures 2013: Clinical and Health Survey. FNRI Bldg., DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
  • Roth et al. (2015). Global Burden of Cardiovascular Disease: Global and Regional Patterns in Cardiovascular Mortality from 1990 to 2013, Circulation 132: 1667-1678.
  • World Health Organization (2012). Noncommunicable diseases in the Western Pacific Region: a profile. Manila: WHO