A surveillance survey seeking to measure the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in the Commonwealth will be included in the CNMI Behavioral Health Survey, according to Becky Robles, administrator of the Division of Public Health-NCD Bureau.
Robles said the survey is scheduled for implementation in early August this year.
The CNMI Behavioral Health Survey captures the national outcome measure indicators for adult substance abuse and includes additional indicators related to mental health and the smoke-free law, Public Law 16-46.
Robles said it will be a population-based survey that will result in better and accurate data on the adult prevalence base rates for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and body mass index or BMI.
“The NCD survey will be partnered with the CBHS that the Community Guidance Center implements every two years. The survey will ask questions about diet and exercise among other questions as well as take blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol readings and height and weight measurements,” Robles said.
“The exciting aspect of this survey is that it will provide us with the very much needed population-based, adult data in relation to NCDs in the CNMI,” she added.
The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and its subsidiary division, DPH, along with the soon-to-be revived NCD Task Force and the NCD Alliance, will conduct the survey.
This helps CHCC-DPH so the corporation will then be able to say that this is that percentage of the population they’ve come up with for better programs to be implemented and for a more effective way to prevent NCDs.
The survey also aims to garner more accurate statistics that is highly needed for the Pacific region because the CNMI lacks the numbers it needs to guide policy decisions governing health issues. Much of the current data are from four or more years ago or different organizations have different numbers.
“We will be able to go beyond anecdotal observations of the NCD issues in the CNMI and instead have solid of evidence of the actual issues. This information will help better guide our programs to address the NCD needs of the community,” Robles said.
The survey will have roughly 60 questions, while the CBHS will have more than 50 questions.
“It is our hope that the people in the community see the need for this survey and are willing to cooperate if they are selected to be a part of it,” Robles said.
CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña said that this survey will help address a lot of the longstanding issues of NCDs in the CNMI.
“This survey is just one of the many things the departments are working on to address lowering the rates of NCDs,” Muña said.