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1.  Understanding and living with glaucoma and non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes in the Jhaukhel-Duwakot Health Demographic Surveillance Site: a qualitative study from Nepal 
Global Health Action  2014;7:10.3402/gha.v7.25358.
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is one of the most common causes of irreversible blindness. A possible association between POAG and non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes suggests that the incidence of POAG may increase. People with POAG in Nepal usually present late to hospital and have poor knowledge of glaucoma.
Anticipating a knowledge gap regarding these diseases, this study aimed to explore the knowledge of POAG, hypertension, and diabetes in the community and barriers to health care.
We conducted this qualitative study in the Jhaukhel-Duwakot Health Demographic Surveillance Site (JD-HDSS), a peri-urban community near Kathmandu, a capital city of Nepal. To study how disease influences knowledge, we conducted focus group discussions separately for men and women with and without pre-existing POAG, hypertension, and diabetes. Data were analyzed using the framework analysis approach.
Although people suffering from POAG, hypertension, and/or diabetes exhibited adequate knowledge of hypertension and diabetes, they lacked in-depth knowledge of POAG. People believed mostly in internal health locus of control. Perception of disease consequences and impact of disease on daily life was influenced by pre-existing POAG, hypertension, and/or diabetes but only in men. Gender disparity was observed regarding health literacy, health perception, and health barriers, which put women in a more difficult situation to tackle their health. We also revealed a gap between knowledge, attitude, and practice of health among women and healthy men.
Although people in JD-HDSS exhibited adequate knowledge regarding hypertension and diabetes, they lacked in-depth knowledge about POAG. This study demonstrated gender difference in health literacy and access to health care, making women more vulnerable towards disease. We also demonstrated a gap between knowledge, attitude, and practice of health. However, tailored health literacy programs may bring changes in the health status in the community.
PMCID: PMC4212074  PMID: 25361727
barriers to health care; diabetes; health literacy; hypertension; non-communicable disease; primary open-angle glaucoma
2.  Do non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes associate with primary open-angle glaucoma? Insights from a case–control study in Nepal 
Global Health Action  2013;6:10.3402/gha.v6i0.22636.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension and diabetes are rapidly emerging public health problems worldwide, and they associate with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). POAG is the most common cause of irreversible blindness. The most effective ways to prevent glaucoma blindness involve identifying high-risk populations and conducting routine screening for early case detection. This study investigated whether POAG associates with hypertension and diabetes in a Nepalese population.
To explore the history of systemic illness, our hospital-based case–control study used non-random consecutive sampling in the general eye clinics in three hospitals across Nepal to enroll patients newly diagnosed with POAG and controls without POAG. The study protocol included history taking, ocular examination, and interviews with 173 POAG cases and 510 controls. Data analysis comprised descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics computed the percentage, mean, and standard deviation (SD); inferential statistics used McNemar's test to measure associations between diseases.
POAG affected males more frequently than females. The odds of members of the Gurung ethnic group having POAG were 2.05 times higher than for other ethnic groups. Hypertension and diabetes were strongly associated with POAG. The overall odds of POAG increased 2.72-fold among hypertensive and 3.50-fold among diabetic patients.
POAG associates significantly with hypertension and diabetes in Nepal. Thus, periodic glaucoma screening for hypertension and diabetes patients in addition to opportunistic screening at eye clinics may aid in detecting more POAG cases at an early stage and hence in reducing avoidable blindness.
PMCID: PMC3818480  PMID: 24192283
non-communicable disease (NCD); hypertension; diabetes mellitus; blindness; primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG)
3.  Establishing a health demographic surveillance site in Bhaktapur district, Nepal: initial experiences and findings 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:489.
A health demographic surveillance system (HDSS) provides longitudinal data regarding health and demography in countries with coverage error and poor quality data on vital registration systems due to lack of public awareness, inadequate legal basis and limited use of data in health planning. The health system in Nepal, a low-income country, does not focus primarily on health registration, and does not conduct regular health data collection. This study aimed to initiate and establish the first HDSS in Nepal.
We conducted a baseline survey in Jhaukhel and Duwakot, two villages in Bhaktapur district. The study surveyed 2,712 households comprising a total population of 13,669. The sex ratio in the study area was 101 males per 100 females and the average household size was 5. The crude birth and death rates were 9.7 and 3.9/1,000 population/year, respectively. About 11% of births occurred at home, and we found no mortality in infants and children less than 5 years of age. Various health problems were found commonly and some of them include respiratory problems (41.9%); headache, vertigo and dizziness (16.7%); bone and joint pain (14.4%); gastrointestinal problems (13.9%); heart disease, including hypertension (8.8%); accidents and injuries (2.9%); and diabetes mellitus (2.6%). The prevalence of non-communicable disease (NCD) was 4.3% (95% CI: 3.83; 4.86) among individuals older than 30 years. Age-adjusted odds ratios showed that risk factors, such as sex, ethnic group, occupation and education, associated with NCD.
Our baseline survey demonstrated that it is possible to collect accurate and reliable data in a village setting in Nepal, and this study successfully established an HDSS site. We determined that both maternal and child health are better in the surveillance site compared to the entire country. Risk factors associated with NCDs dominated morbidity and mortality patterns.
PMCID: PMC3494612  PMID: 22950751

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