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:
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.
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.
Following are some significant observations of the report:
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.