Friday 11th October 2019

Non-Communicable Diseases – Major Cause of Deaths Among Nepalis

As per the report, two out of every three deaths in Nepal are caused by Diseases
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Non-Communicable Diseases – Major Cause of Deaths Among Nepalis

A new study published by the Nepal Health Research Council states that non-communicable diseases are the highest contributor of deaths in Nepal.

As per the report, two out of every three deaths in Nepal are caused by diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, lower respiratory infection, and stroke.

“Non-communicable diseases are increasingly becoming a major public health issue. Notably, ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are significantly contributing to the burden of disease,” the report states.

According to the study on Nepal Burden of Disease conducted in 2017, factors such as changing age structure and lifestyle including excessive tobacco and alcohol use, increased sedentary behavior and unhealthy diets are the main contributors of non-communicable diseases.

As per the study following are the top 10 causes of death in 2017 as compared to 2007:

Top 10 causes of death in 2017 as compared to 2007 in Nepal

Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

The study identifies ischemic heart diseases as the leading cause of death among men and COPD among women.

Ischemic heart disease (coronary heart disease) is caused due to narrowing of arteries, resulting in lesser blood and oxygen supply to the heart.

Ischemic heart disease (coronary heart disease)

On the other hand, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an overall term for multiple progressive lung diseases that limit airflow in the lungs and are identified by increasing breathlessness.

Nepal Research Council Senior Researcher Dr. Megnath Dhakal, who was part of the study said that COPD is the leading cause of death among women as 75 percent Nepali households still cook on firewood. Also, women spend long hours in the kitchen in the majority of their homes.

“Heart disease is the chief killer among males because of the use of tobacco, alcohol, exposure to heat and pollution and stress,” Dhimal added.

Furthermore, lower respiratory infection, diarrheal disease and ischemic stroke are the among the top five leading causes of death in males. On the other hand, diarrheal disease, lower respiratory infection and Alzheimer’s disease are the top five major killers among women.

However, Nepal has made some major progress over the past 27 years in terms of increased life expectancy and decreased death rate.

Nepal Progress Over 27 Years

Following are some significant observations of the report:

  • Nepalis life expectancy has increased – persons born in 2017 are expected to live 12.6 years longer than those from the 90s
  • Life expectancy age wise has increased from 59 years to 73.3 years for females and from 58 to 69 for males between 1990 and 2017
  • Death rates declined over the past two decades for both genders – decreasing from 1,110.28 deaths per 100,000 people in 1990 to 611.38 deaths per 100,000 populations in 2017
Nepalis life expectancy report from 1990 to 2017

Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

The study was conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, Ministry of Health and Population, Nepal Health Research Council and Department of International Development.

Dhimal opines that the study could be extremely beneficial for related stakeholders to formulate national health policies and allocate resources according to the needs.

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