VSHC is gradually progressing it's research agenda in the areas of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and non communicable diseases (NCD).
Sheetal Naidu has been appointed as the research coordinator through funding from UNFPA and we have Jenny Naidu and Namrata Patel collecting and collating data for the NCD project and George and Warsha for the SRH project.
The NCD project has conducted a community based STEPs survey in line with the 2 national surveys conducted in 2002 and 2012. We have done some preliminary data analysis of our survey population and have made several interesting observations regarding modifiable life style risk factors. These observations feed into the intervention strategies to reduce the risk of subsequent disease.
We are also evaluating the impact of treatment of high risk NCD patients using the WHO PEN tool. This tool is used to identify the risk of a complication. Proper management of the patient should reduce this risk. Thus the potential use of this tool in the clinical setting is to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment of high risk patients. This work could lead to identify why patients are not getting better control of their diabetes and high blood pressure.
We have trained and deployed several Community Health Workers (CHW). This cadre of health personnel are being re introduced into the health system. In many countries CHWs have a high attrition rate ie they work for a while and drop out. We are observing the progress of our CHW engagement, recording their effectiveness and identifying challenges in their deployment.
The NCD team has been involved in reducing community life style risk factors such as smoking, lack of physical exercise, poor nutrition and abuse of alcohol and kava. The specific interventions have been group education sessions using a modified SNAP tool, healthy cooking demonstrations, promotion of home gardening and encouragement of exercise. The impact of these are being evaluated.
The SRH team has several research projects underway relating to attitudes towards and usage of contraception and cancer screening behavior. There is also a project underway to review teen pregnancies in the community.
RH will be evaluating its data of the clinical outreach clinics where close to 5000 women and girls from rural areas had clinical services in SRH including family planning advice and Pap Smears. Education in SRH issues has been taken to over 10,000 individuals. The impact of these will be evaluated as well.