The European Union supported ‘SHARE’ (Strengthening Health, Apply Research Evidence) project at icddr,b organized a Café Scientifique titled ‘Prevention of NCDs among Urban Adolescents and Young Adults’ held on 14th November 2018 at the Cafeteria of James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University. It was in collaboration with the James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University and the Department of Public Health & Informatics, Bangubandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Dhaka.
Dr. Sohel Reza Chowdhury, Professor, National Heart Foundation Hospital & Research Institute (NHFH & RI) and Dr. Md. Khalequzzaman., Assistant Professor, BSMMU presented their study findings on NCDs which titled “Prevalence of non- communicable disease risk factors among poor shantytown residents in Dhaka, Bangladesh”. Dr. Shahed Hossain, Consultant Scientist at icddr,b and Dr. Sohana Shafique, Assistant Scientist and Deputy Project Coordinator of ‘SHARE’ project at icddr,b moderated this event. A total of 38 persons were attended the event; male were27, female were 11.
The SHARE-managed Café Scientifique aims to increase interaction between scientists, policy makers and general public leading to enhanced mutual understanding of evidence and increased demand for use of evidence in health policy making. The idea has been successfully implemented in many developed countries. In 1998 the first Café Scientifique was held in Leeds in theUK. It ideally can be held at a cafeteria of any institution or any well know community space having a cup of coffee or tea and in an informal setting.
This Café Scientifique on NCDs is connected to the SHARE objective that aims to contribute to evidence-informed health policy making in Bangladesh leading to progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) and improved health equality, particularly for urban poor and those who suffering from non- communicable Diseases (NCDs). The focus on urban adolescents and young adults because of their size (5%) in total population; also to manage their future risks associated with NCDs; also for the demographic change
The event started with a brain storming game to build their awareness on consumtion of salt and sugar. It helped them to learn –how much salt and sugar one intakes in a 147 gm Pringles chips packet and ½ litters cola– about 12 tea spoons sugar contain in a ½ litter cola and 10 spoons of salt in a 147 gm Pringles.
Dr. Chowdhury and Dr. Khalequzzaman then presented their study findings on NCDs in urban contexts. According to the study, there is a misconception that only the effluent people suffer from NCD related diseases. The findings reveal that the slum people are at risk on NCD related diseases. The research, carried out on 2, 551 respondents, aged between 10-65 years, at the Bauniabadh slum in the capital’s Mirpur shows that the prevalence of diabetes was 22.5% among women and 15.6 % among men, which was much higher than the estimated national prevalence which was 7 %. For hypertension, the figures were 39.2% and 18.9 % for women and men respectively.
The data was supported by Dr. Fahmida Afroz Khan, Research Officer of BSMMU who did her research on salt and found that the level of salt on white bread reaches the highest concentration of sodium ( 625.85mg/?? in a brand) while one brand contain lowest level of salt with 314mg. The daily salt intake explored in her study was 7.8 gm per day while WHO-recommended level was 5 gm per day.
also added the risk factor of the tobacco consumers. According to the policy recommendation, Tobacco Act Amendment 2013 prohibited some rules and regulation to consume tobacco products.
There was an open discussion following the presentation. The MPH students of JPG School of Public Health took part in the discussion. They shared and suggested different issues including imposing age barrier to buy tobacco products from the markets.
A student from West African country Sierra Leon said that there has no law and regulation to buy and consume tobacco and alcohol in the country. “Awareness is not enough to prevent NCDs … many people, because of their business, don’t have enough time to walk every day for 20 minutes”, a student made her comment. She suggested for Zim or exercise corner in work station.
Prof. Zahidul Quayyum who is also a faculty of the School explained how he gave up smoking. Self motivation and awerenes is the key, he said.
Prof. Zaman, another faculty member (?) of the School made his focus on adolescent health and emphasized that changing behavior and attitude of the younger generation is easier than the older people.
Dr. Chowdhury and Dr. Khalequzzaman recommended that promotion of awareness through social media, tweeting etc. are very important to prevent NCDs among the youth. Role of the government in ensuring safe and quality foods is also necessary in their views.