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One in six Sri Lankans suffers from chronic illness, Diabetes high in services


July 06, 2016 (LBO) – A new survey has found that 18 percent of Sri Lanka’s population, or nearly one in six persons, have reported some chronic illness or an illness that persist for long time periods. This survey has considered diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, mental illness, arthritis, epilepsy and other illnesses as chronic illnesses. This appears to be the first countrywide survey of self-reported (without medical tests or clinical examination) health status in Sri Lanka conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics. As per the results, more than half (55%) of the elderly over 60 years of age have reported some chronic illness. Prevalence of Diabetes and High Blood Pressure of population 15 years and above are 7 percent and 9 percent respectively. There are differences in the prevalence of chronic diseases among employment and industry categories. For instance, the highest prevalence of Diabetes (13%) and high blood pressure (8%) are reported for the category of “Senior Officials and Managers”.
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The highest prevalence of Diabetes (7%) is reported for those in the “Service” sector compared to the two sectors of ‘Industries’ (4%) and ‘Agriculture’ (4%). Geographically, the prevalence of Diabetes (11%) in the population over 15 years is highest in the Colombo district. The report also shows that 15 percent of the total population has received treatment for any acute illness considered in the study during four weeks prior to the survey. An acute illness is an illness that onsets very rapidly and is of short duration. Acute illnesses are more common among children under 15 years. Nearly one in five children (24 %) has experienced an acute illness in the month prior to the survey. The survey has inquired about accidents for which treatments were received during three months prior to the survey. Home is the place where 43 percent of the accidents have occurred. For children less than 15 years this proportion is even more (57%). Accident related illnesses have been quite high among certain occupation categories.

Among the employed persons who met with an accident, about 34 percent is “Skilled Agricultural and Fishery Workers” and nearly 25 percent is “Plant and Machine Operators and Assemblers”.
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