The main finding of the survey is that health services have been partially or completely disrupted in many countries due to the pandemic
Prevention and treatment services for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have been severely disrupted since the Covid-19 pandemic began, said the World Health Organisation (WHO).According to a WHO survey released on June 01, which was completed by 155 countries during a 3-week period in May, the low-income countries are most affected.
The main finding of the survey is that health services have been partially or completely disrupted in many countries due to the pandemic.
The survey found that hypertension treatment services have been disrupted in more than half (53 percent) of the countries. Around 49 percent countries saw a disruption for diabetes and diabetes-related complications, 42 percent for cancer treatment, and 31 percent for cardiovascular emergencies.
The WHO said in the majority (94 percent) of countries, ministry of health staffs working in the area of NCDs were partially or fully reassigned to support Covid-19.
In one in five countries (20 percent) reporting disruptions, one of the main reasons for discontinuing services was a shortage of medicines, diagnostics and other technologies.
According to the survey, there appears to be a correlation between levels of disruption to services for treating NCDs and the evolution of the Covid-19 outbreak in a country. Services become increasingly disrupted as a country moves from sporadic cases to community transmission of the coronavirus.
Globally, two-thirds of countries reported that they had included NCD services in their national Covid-19 preparedness and response plans; 72 percent of high-income countries reported inclusion compared to 42 percent of low-income countries.
Services to address cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease were the most frequently included. Dental services, rehabilitation and tobacco cessation activities were not as widely included in response plans according to country reports.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation said, "Many people who need treatment for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have not been receiving the health services and medicines they need since the Covid-19 pandemic began. It's vital that countries find innovative ways to ensure that essential services for NCDs continue, even as they fight Covid-19."