Engaging Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) for cardiovascular diseases risk screening in Nepal

PLoS One. 2022 Jan 6;17(1):e0261518. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0261518. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) have become the leading public health problems worldwide and the cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is one of the major NCDs. Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) in Nepal are the key drivers to implementing frontline health services. We explored the potential for engaging FCHVs for CVD risk screening at the community level in Nepal.

Methods: We used multiple approaches (quantitative and qualitative) for data collection. The trained FCHVs administered CVD risk screening questionnaire among 491 adults in rural and urban areas and calculated the CVD risk scores. To maintain consistency and quality, a registered medical doctor also, using the same risk scoring chart, independently calculated the CVD risk scores. Kappa statistics and concordance coefficient were used to compare these two sets of risk screening results. Sensitivity and specificity analyses were conducted. Two focus group discussions among the FCHVs were conducted to determine their experiences with CVD risk screening and willingness to engage with CVD prevention and control efforts.

Results: The mean level of agreement between two sets of risk screening results was 94.5% (Kappa = 0.77, P<0.05). Sensitivity of FCHV screening was 90.3% (95% CI: 0.801-0.964); and the specificity was 97% (95% CI: 0.948, 0.984). FCHVs who participated in the FGDs expressed a strong enthusiasm and readiness to using the CVD risk screening tools. Despite their busy workload, all FCHVs showed high level of motivation and willingness in using CVD risk screening tools and contribute to the prevention and control efforts of NCDs. The FCHVs recommended needs for providing additional training and capacity building opportunities.

Conclusion: We conclude that there is a potential for engaging FCHVs to use simple CVD risk screening tools at the community level. The findings are promising, however, further studies engaging larger number of FCHVs and larger population would warrant feasibility of such tools within the existing healthcare systems in Nepal.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Community Health Workers / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Nepal / epidemiology
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Volunteers / education*
  • Volunteers / statistics & numerical data
  • Women's Health / standards*

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.