STUDY OBJECTIVE: To develop, introduce and test a methodology, which provides valid data about the prevalence and incidence of chronic, non-communicable diseases of great public health importance. DESIGN: The School of Public Health, University of Debrecen, Hungary and the National Public Health and Medical Officer Service the first time launched a morbidity sentinel stations network of general practitioners in four counties in Hungary in May 1998. Within the framework of this program the participating general practitioners reported the prevalence data of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, and major malignant diseases at the beginning, and from than on continuously report the incidence of these diseases. The authors built quality assurance into the program at different levels in order to ensure high quality data. PATIENTS: The study population consists of people belonging to the participating general practitioners' practices at any time, selected in a way to represent the eastern and western part of the country as well as the participating practices in the counties (Gyór-Moson-Sopron, Hajdú-Bihar, Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg, Zala) would give a geographically and according to settlement size representative sample of general practitioners in those counties. Eighty general practitioners were approached in the four counties by the county offices and overall 73 of them, 1.4% of the total practices in Hungary (5212), agreed to participate in the study, therefore information can be collected on 1.37% of the Hungarian population's (138,088 people) morbidity status. MAIN RESULTS: The population of practices participating in the program gives a representative sample of the counties population by age and sex. The prevalence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus and liver cirrhosis is high in all the counties involved. In most of the selected diseases the authors have found differences in the prevalence between the eastern and western part of Hungary with higher values in the western counties. The differences were most apparent in the older age groups in both sexes. CONCLUSIONS: The development and sustainability of primary care based, sentinel stations type, euroconform morbidity data collection system is undoubtedly justified in Hungary. The collected and thoroughly analysed data provide not only a valid and comprehensive basis to describe some aspects of the health status of the Hungarian population but also gives an opportunity to continuously monitor the changes in morbidity of the selected diseases. Thus, the program serves an important basis for health care capacity building, priority setting and the evaluation of the effectiveness of public health interventions.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - aug. 3 2003|
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