At least a million people in Kerala have been screened at their homes during the last two months as part of the State Health Department’s exercise to detect the spread of or disposition to lifestyle diseases, one of the components of the Nava Kerala Karma Padhati of the Sate government, through means of a tailor-made Android application.

Home-based screening being carried out in the 140 Assembly constituencies will be completed within a month, according to State Health Minister Veena George. The screening programme is entirely over in Wayanad district, which also hosts a medical camp for clinical examination for those identified with significant risks for developing cancer, the minister added.

Completed in Wayanad

Those identified with chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will be provided follow-up treatment to keep their condition under check. Those diagnosed with significant risk factors that predispose them to diseases will receive support to manage the risk factors so they do not develop diseases.

Earlier, the Health department in Kerala had readied an Android application named ‘Shylee’ to enable Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to collect information on the prevalence of lifestyle diseases and its risk factors among those above 30 years of age. The app will help in the collection of data on diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer and other lifestyle diseases and the risk factors that lead to these conditions.

Data on Android app

Each ASHA will visit all individual houses within their assigned geographical area for data entry, for which they will receive incentives. The data collected will give the health status of the population in every panchayat, and this data will be passed on to the medical officer concerned. The district-level information will be made available on the dashboard for the district nodal officer and the State-level information, for the State nodal officer, an official spokesman said.

The app generates a score on the health status of individuals. Anyone with a score above four may visit the nearest health institution for further medical examination and investigation. Those found to be at high risk of contracting cancer will be asked to attend a special camp where specialists carry out clinical examinations. Apart from Wayanad, Pathanamthitta district currently hosts such a camp, the spokesman added.

Ascertain true health status

The campaign will enable the health administration to ascertain the true and exact health status of the population at the regional level and the State level which will help policy-makers and planners when formulating health plans. Lifestyle diseases are on the rise in the State and it is important that these are kept under check.

The Health department is already engaged in the implementation of an NCD control programme, ‘Amritham Arogyam.’ Though all health institutions, including sub-centres, are running NCD clinics, there are no stats on the actual burden of the diseases in every area. The population-based screening will help reveal the true picture, the spokesman said.