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Impact and cost of a 2-week community-based screening and awareness program for diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors in a Swiss canton

Authors Bovet P , Hirsiger, Emery, De Bernardini, Rossier, Trebeljahr, Hagon

Published 16 June 2011 Volume 2011:4 Pages 213—223


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Pascal Bovet1, Philippe Hirsiger2, Frédéric Emery3, Jessica De Bernardini2, Christophe Rossier3, Josefine Trebeljahr2, Isabelle Hagon-Traub2
1Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (IUMSP), University of Lausanne and Centre Universitaire Hospitalier Vaudois (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland; 2Public Health Service, Department of Health and Social Action, Canton of Vaud, Lausanne, Switzerland; 3Association of Pharmacists, Canton of Vaud, Lausanne, Switzerland

Background: Community-based diabetes screening programs can help sensitize the population and identify new cases. However, the impact of such programs is rarely assessed in high-income countries, where concurrent health information and screening opportunities are common place.
Intervention and methods: A 2-week screening and awareness campaign was organized as part of a new diabetes program in the canton of Vaud (population of 697,000) in Switzerland. Screening was performed without appointment in 190 out of 244 pharmacies in the canton at the subsidized cost of 10 Swiss Francs per participant. Screening included questions on risk behaviors, measurement of body mass index, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, random blood glucose (RBG), and A1c if RBG was ≥7.0 mmol/L. A mass media campaign promoting physical activity and a healthy diet was channeled through several media, eg, 165 spots on radio, billboards in 250 public places, flyers in 360 public transport vehicles, and a dozen articles in several newspapers. A telephone survey in a representative sample of the population of the canton was performed after the campaign to evaluate the program.
Results: A total of 4222 participants (0.76% of all persons aged ≥18 years) underwent the screening program (median age: 53 years, 63% females). Among participants not treated for diabetes, 3.7% had RBG ≥ 7.8 mmol/L and 1.8% had both RBG ≥ 7.0 mmol/L and A1c ≥ 6.5. Untreated blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg and/or untreated cholesterol ≥5.2 mmol/L were found in 50.5% of participants. One or several treated or untreated modifiable risk factors were found in 78% of participants. The telephone survey showed that 53% of all adults in the canton were sensitized by the campaign. Excluding fees paid by the participants, the program incurred a cost of CHF 330,600.
Conclusion: A community-based screening program had low efficiency for detecting new cases of diabetes, but it identified large numbers of persons with elevated other cardiovascular risk factors. Our findings suggest the convenience of A1c for mass screening of diabetes, the usefulness of extending diabetes screening to other cardiovascular risk factors, and the importance of a robust background communication campaign.

Keywords: hypertension, cholesterol, community-based program, evaluation, Switzerland

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