Ukraine Prepares for NCD Risk Factor Analysis
Ukraine is planning to conduct its first nationwide survey to assess the prevalence of the risk factors for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including tobacco and alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy dietary habits. The survey will follow the WHO-recommended STEPwise approach to surveillance (STEPS), a representative study on risk factors of major NCDs.
In Ukraine, NCDs are accountable for more than 80% of disability-adjusted life years, a measure of the number of years lost due to ill health or early death. NCDs cause around 90% of all annual deaths in the country, including a high level of premature mortality, especially from cardiovascular diseases.
The Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine will carry out the STEPS study jointly with the Ukrainian Institute for Social Research. All stages of survey implementation will be technically guided by WHO and supported by the World Bank.
The data provided by the survey are critical for planning and evaluation of effective policies to prevent and control NCDs and, as a result, improving and saving lives,” said Dr Feng Zhao, Leader of the World Bank’s Human Development Program in Belarus, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as per WHO Europe.
The STEPS methodology in Ukraine
The STEPS methodology investigates the prevalence of NCDs and their risk factors by applying a standardized questionnaire and undertaking physical and biochemical measurements.
The survey will focus on the adult population of Ukraine (urban and rural) with a total sample of 7700 participants. Data collection will begin in June 2019, and the results of the survey will be available by December 2019.
The survey will provide nationally representative and internationally comparable data on:
- current alcohol and tobacco use;
- current fruit and vegetable consumption;
- current salt intake;
- history of NCDs and their treatment; and
- current prevalence of overweight and obesity, raised blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol.
In addition to the standard areas of the STEPS survey, the Ministry of Health has decided to integrate additional NCD-related areas of public health interest such as:
- mental health (depression and suicide),
- violence and injury,
- cervical cancer (screening and follow-up).
Importance of evaluating alcohol risk of NCDs in Ukraine
The per capita alcohol consumption in Ukraine is high comparative to the WHO European region. Alcohol harm in Ukraine is at epidemic levels and the country is one of the highest ranked concerning years of life lost due to alcohol. Further Ukrainian men suffer significantly more from alcohol use disorders when compared with the region.
It is important to assess the alcohol risk factor for NCDs due the heavy burden of alcohol harm in the country. Data from the STEPS survey can enable assessment and improvement of prevention of alcohol and other risk factors. A comprehensive alcohol control policy is also necessary to curb the alcohol harm in Ukraine.