In a first of its kind initiative, HealthCube, a healthtech company engaged in early disease detection, is providing periodic monitoring of health parameters for over 1 lakh Indo-Tibetan refugees. At the request of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, HealthCube has partnered with the Department of Health, Central Tibetan Administration for this project aimed at identifying non-communicable diseases in Tibetan populations across India.
In the first phase of the project, a total of 4162 individuals were screened between Dec 2019 and Jan 2021 in 18 locations. These individuals ranged in age from 18 to 100 years, with the average age being 52 years in females and 49 years in males. The most frequently performed tests were for hemoglobin (78.9%), blood glucose (53.2%) and blood pressure (50.3%).
Our analysis showed that 65.5% of females and 66.2% of males fell in the anemic range. In addition, 48.3% of the individuals had systolic blood pressures above 130 mm Hg and 22.5% had diastolic blood pressures above 90 mm Hg, placing them in the hypertensive range. Further, 8.6% of people had random blood glucose levels above 200 mg/dL, requiring follow-up testing for diabetes. We found age-dependent tendencies for elevated blood pressure and blood glucose. At ages below 60, average systolic and diastolic blood pressures were lower in females than in males.
Speaking about this, Prashant Arukia, Chief Operating Officer, HealthCube, said, “HealthCube is proud to have partnered with the Department of Health, Central Tibetan Administration, to screen refugees for vital health parameters. The data collected will enable the expansion of public health programs in the community for promoting healthy lifestyles and disease prevention. We are proud to be able to offer holistic diagnostic technology with the ability to deploy services in any part of the country. This gives us a unique edge in the diagnostic ecosystem in India.”
Through this intervention with HealthCube, the Central Tibetan Administration aims to provide the Tibetan population access to adequate and holistic primary health care services. HealthCube devices placed in primary healthcare centers are being used for screening. In addition to the parameters reported here, the devices can measure total cholesterol, uric acid, pulse, oxygen saturation and perform a 12-lead ECG. Rapid diagnostic tests for several infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, typhoid, chikungunya and leptospirosis can also be read on the device.
“Non communicable diseases (NCDs) are a growing health concern. The medical camp like the one organized by the HealthCube at Mundgod Tibetan settlement through the DTR hospital under the guidance of the Department of Health, Central Tibetan Administration (C.T.A) promoted awareness about NCDs and its risk factors. Our aim is early detection of NCDs and the HealthCube is one such device in use” informed Mr. Palden Dhondup, Secretary, Department of Health, C.T.A.
Dr. Radha Rangarajan, Chief Scientific Officer, HealthCube said, “We are happy to collaborate with the Central Tibetan Authority for screening over a lakh Indo-Tibetan refugees. Our experience so far has been that most people are unaware of pre-existing chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, making such screening efforts valuable tools for early detection of disease. Periodic screening for basic health parameters can lead to timely interventions and promote positive health outcomes”.
HealthCube aims to solve the problem of lack of access to primary health diagnostic services, through its versatile point-of-care devices and cloud-enabled platforms. HealthCube systems are easy to use and rapid, and are helping millions of people get tested for basic vital and biochemical parameters.