Preliminary findings of the household survey in Nepal show that a total of 6245 people lived in 1209 households with an average family size of 5.17 ±2.02. Females were lesser in proportion (48.8%) than males and most of the people were living in nuclear families (64%). About one fourth of them were illiterate. The main source of drinking water was tube well among majority (97%) of the households and most of the households (68.2%) used firewood as a source of fuel for cooking. A quarter of households still practiced open field defecation. More than three fourth of them (78.1%) living below the poverty line.
About 66% of the households consulted a health care institution for health problems in the past one year. Among those who had visited PHC (41.4%) for consultation, 93.8% reported of having received information about their health problems; however 20.6% of them did not get sufficient time to ask for clarification. Although 47% of them were referred to other health institutions, almost half of them rated the service of PHC to be good. Most of them (70.5%) could reach the PHC by walking and about 29% of them were not accompanied by anybody during the visit to the PHC.
Among the health problems reported, there were two cases of leprosy, more than 8% were diabetes and about 9% were hypertension.
Apart from health workers such as doctors, nurses, health assistants and auxiliary health workers, and female community health volunteer, people also seek advice regarding health problems from their friends (10.6%), relatives (23%), neighbor (7.1%) and traditional healers (12%). None of the people had any form of health insurance.
For the first time, in the rural area, Baniyani VDC, Jhapa district, South-western Nepal, a major household survey on several health issues was conducted by the Nepalese COHESION team during the last week of November 2016. The aim of the survey was to collect baseline information needed to assess the level of NCDs and NTD prevalence and related health care in one of the two selected site for COHESION intervention in Nepal.
The Household survey was conducted in the framework of the Interdisciplinary “Community Diagnosis Program” organized by School of Public Health and Community Medicine which comprises of two weeks of residential posting in rural setting for 1st Year MBBS, BDS and B.Sc. Nursing students. More than 200 students took part to the survey, supervised by 30 postgraduates and teachers, to collect data of more than 1200 households.
The questionnaires used are an innovative mixture of closed and open-ended questions concerning the socio-demographic profile of the community, reported health problems, health seeking behaviour and access to health facility and services at PHC level from a consumer perspective.
An orientation program was first organized at the B. P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) to deliver lectures for the students on the different methods to be used. A meeting with local authorities including VDC heads, health worker, leaders, school teachers, Female Community Health Volunteers and others was also organized the week before field work, to inform the community of Baniyani VDC about the program and its aim.
The total of 201 medical graduate and nursing students under the supervision of 26 supervisors, including MD/MPH/MSc. nursing students were grouped in nine groups in accordance with the total number of wards of Baniyani VDC and performed house to house visits during 7 full days and collected more than 1200 households using semi-structured questionnaires regarding the above mentioned issues.
All households of the VDC were visited. The local communities were very cooperative in general. However, some resisted for the interview which could be due to mistrust towards health institutions or business. Others could not be assessed because of locked houses, probably due to the harvesting season or migration for work. Some members of household questioned about benefits of the survey: the fact that we were holding a health camp in parallel (day program of on the spot consultations offered by the MDs/faculties from B. P. Koirala Institute) helped a lot in this regard. At the end of the data collection exercise preliminary findings were shared with the community representatives, which also fostered mobilization of the villagers.
A challenge of the survey was to visit the place of study from the place of residence with such a huge group of students. We had to travel for more than an hour by bus. We all were very busy during the data collection with regard to visiting different households by walking. In every evening, attendance of students and briefing of status of data collection was organized.
In general, this survey was a success. Not only data were collected, but because all students had the opportunity to gain a lot of valuable experience.