Tribune News Network
The field teams participating in the National STEPwise Survey 2023 for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their common risk factors started visiting the homes of citizens and residents targeted in the survey on Thursday.
The survey is being carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA), Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC).
The survey will be carried out by visiting more than 8,500 homes of Qatari nationals and non-Qatari residents after a random sample is selected from household lists, based on the Population Census, 2020. The participants in the survey will be in the age group between 15 and 69 years, randomly selected from these selected households.
In preparation for the start of the survey, the MoPH, in collaboration with the PSA, organised an intensive five-day training for census staff and nurses participating in the survey.
The survey is a second cycle of STEPwise surveys to provide a database on chronic non-communicable diseases and their related risk factors in Qatar, such as tobacco use, lack of physical activity, unhealthy nutrition, obesity, hypertension, increased blood glucose and increased blood fat. It will enable the MoPH to develop National Action plans, within the National Health Strategy, for controlling these diseases and their risk factors.
The survey is being conducted by field teams visiting the homes of the families participating in the survey during its implementation period, during weekdays except for Friday, as visits are carried out from Sunday to Thursday between 4pm and 9pm, and on Saturdays between 9am and 2pm.
The well-trained data collection teams will conduct visits and a questionnaire will be filled out on common risk factors for chronic non-communicable diseases, including tobacco use, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity as well as physical measurements, such as height, weight, and waist circumference. Urine Samples will be collected for urinary sodium and creatinine. The blood tests for blood glucose and lipids by finger prick method will be conducted on the second visit to the household.
Sheikh Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani, director of the Public Health Department at MoPH, stressed the great importance of the national STEPwise survey, explaining that data will serve as evidence-based information for formulating action plans under the National Health strategy for tackling NCDs and for monitoring the prevalence of risk factors to enhance the health of the community.
Nasser Saleh Almohdi, director of the Census Department at PSA, stressed the importance of joint cooperation between different government institutions in the fields of health research.
He added that compiling the most updated and scientifically accurate data for NCDs and their risk factors is a vital national task, the findings of which will help in improving health services to the community.
Nasser Saleh Al Mahdi, director of the Department of Censuses, Surveys and Statistical Methods at the Planning and Statistics Authority, pointed to the importance of joint cooperation from all concerned for the success of the survey, and stressed the importance of data collectors learning the skills required to ensure accurate data collection.
Dr. Rayana Buhaqa, WHO representative in Qatar, noted the increasing rates of morbidity and mortality from noncommunicable diseases and associated risk factors globally and in Qatar.
She stressed that the STEPwise survey requires the active participation of all sectors and an integrated government approach to its success.
Conducting STEPwise surveys in line with the validated protocol and data collection tools is an integral part that ensures the quality of the data collected as well as the global comparison of country data with other countries, she said.
Dr Kholoud Ateeq Al Motawaa, head of the NCD Department at MoPH and National Team lead for the STEPwise survey, said the survey is important because it provides an opportunity for international comparisons and highlights the health needs related to NCDs in the country.
She added that the results of the study will be used to assist the Ministry of Public Health develop public health programmes that target efforts to lower the risk factors that lead to NCDs.
She stressed that all obtained data would be treated with strict confidentiality and would only be used for survey and statistical study purposes.
The Ministry of Public Health called on citizens and residents to cooperate with the fieldwork teams conducting the survey, who have identification cards for the survey, and provide them with all the information required, including blood and urine tests to complete the survey as fast as possible to successfully complete the survey within the prescribed period.