Findings of the 2014 Myanmar STEPS survey on Diabetes Mellitus and Non-Communicable Diseases risk factors presented in Nay Pyi Taw

Testing for blood glucose levels.
WHO/F. Maurizio

The WHO STEPwise approach to non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factor surveillance – the STEPS Survey - focuses on obtaining core data on the established risk factors that determine the disease burden of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases in a country. By using the same standardized questions and protocols, all countries can use STEPS information not only for monitoring in-country trends, but also for making comparisons across countries.

The Ministry of Health conducted STEPS surveys on adult risk factors surveillance in Myanmar in 2003, 2009 and 2014. Amongst these three surveys, the 2014 one is the most comprehensive, providing an analysis of all States and Regions within Myanmar through not only questionnaires and physical measurements – STEPs 1 and 2 of the survey – but also with data obtained through biochemical measurements (STEP 3).

The STEPS survey was initiated by the Ministry of Health in December 2014 with the technical support of WHO Headquarters, regional and country offices. WHO provided support for the training of interviewers and by providing instruments for data collection – for example, weighing machines, stadiometers, automated digital sphygmomanometers and other equipment. Dr. Lubna Ishaq Bhatti, from the Department of Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases, conducted the training of interviewers in Myanmar while Dr. Stephan Savin, also from WHO HQ, assisted the country team with data processing and analysis.

The results of the 2014 STEPS Survey were officially presented at a ceremony in Nay Pyi Taw in February 2016, attended by officials from the Ministry of Health as well as representatives from WHO, NGOs and academics from Medical Universities in Myanmar. H.E. Dr Than Aung, Union Minister of Health, delivered the inaugural address on the importance of analysing and controlling the burden of Diabetes and other NCDs in Myanmar. This was followed by presentations on the survey methodology and on key findings by Dr. Ko Ko, Programme Manager of the Diabetes Control Project and Head of the Department of Medicine at University of Medicine 2, Yangon and Dr. Ko Ko Zaw, Deputy Director from Department of Medical Research.

WHO Myanmar remains committed to support the Ministry of Health in conducting these surveillance exercises, to ensure the formulation of solid data-driven health policies in the country.

To access some findings of the STEPS survey, please see LINK to factsheets