Bibliographic Database on Non-Communicable Diseases of Sri Lanka

A comprehensive bibliography of literature related to non-communicable diseases in Sri Lanka

This comprehensive bibliographic database on research related to major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and risk factors in Sri Lanka is developed by the Health System Research Unit (HSRU) of the Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for Sri Lanka and Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Sri Lanka.


Each year, 80 million people die from four major NCDs, namely cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease in the world. Of them, 15 million die before the age of 70 years. Over 80% of these premature deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries. In concurrence, major NCDs are responsible for 83% of the total deaths in Sri Lanka, with the risk of dying prematurely being 18%. Majority of these premature deaths are preventable, through simple measures implemented to reduce the risk factors and appropriate health systems response. To achieve this, it is essential that country-specific evidence based strategies (‘local best buys’) are identified.  

Professionals from many disciplines engage in research related to NCDs in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, there is a plethora of evidence available in Sri Lanka on major NCDs, however the proportion of the generated evidence that has been translated into practice has been relatively small in Sri Lanka. One constraint had been the non-availability of a bibliography of literature within the last 20 years. This bibliographic database aims to bridge this gap, by providing a hub for research evidence collated for Sri Lanka. It will enable researchers as well as policy makers to translate the available evidence on clinical and preventive strategies & practices into an ‘’implementable’’ platform enriched to support local best buys in NCDs in Sri Lanka. It would also facilitate the researchers to appraise the existing literature and thereby to develop research priorities and conduct applied research, based on the gaps identified in scientific work.

Selection criteria of the publications 
This bibliographic database refers to literature on cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and chronic Kidney disease; their risk factors; interventions to prevent and control such NCDs; and health system response in Sri Lanka, based on studies conducted locally in adult populations during 2000-2018 period.

The following types of publication were excluded: animal studies; studies on Ayurvedic, complementary or traditional treatment methods (e.g. alleviation and purification therapy, yoga exercises, meditation, physiotherapy, acupuncture); laboratory-based studies on the molecular, chemical or pharmacological properties of non-plant based therapeutics; studies conducted on children & adolescents, pregnant women (e.g. gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced hypertension) and migrant populations; case studies and case series; and epidemiological studies in samples less than 100 selected using non-probability sampling methods.

Sources of publications
Publications included in this database are abstracts of full paper articles published in local or international scientific journals; abstracts presented in local conference proceedings; and abstracts of academic research work available in local libraries or in e-repositories.  

Retrieval of publications comprised the following search process:  

  • For publications available online -  Abstracts accessed using MeSH terms through search engines of PubMed, HINARI, GIFT, Scopus, Google scholar, Taylor and Francis and E-repositories of local universities, institutions and colleges in Sri Lanka: University of Colombo (Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Science), University of Peradeniya, University of Jaffna, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Eastern University, University of Kelaniya, Kotelawala Defence University, Open University, National Science Foundation, Post Graduate Institute of Medicine and Ministry of Health

For accessing the full article, URL link/DOI to the relevant article is provided.

  • For publications not available online – Abstracts of academic work (theses and dissertations) available in local libraries (Post Graduate Institute of Medicine) and Abstracts presented in local meetings/conferences of professional colleges and associations of medical specialties (College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka, Ceylon College of Physicians, College of Surgeons of Sri Lanka, College of Pulmonologists of Sri Lanka, College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka College of Radiologists, Sri Lanka College of Dermatologists, Sri Lanka College of Endocrinologists, College of Pathologists of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Association of Sri Lankan Neurologists, Sri Lanka Heart Association). These have been included in the database with prior approval from the relevant professional colleges/institutions


This bibliographic database includes information of approximately 1359 abstracts (800 from online sources, 98 from the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine and the rest retrieved as hard copies from professional colleges, associations, and institutes.
Limitations of the bibliography:

The following abstracts were not included in the database:  

  • Abstracts presented by local researchers in overseas conferences (unless these were available in e-repositories or online)  
  • Abstracts presented at local annual academic sessions of professional colleges during some years
  • Abstracts of E-repositories of universities not updated for some years; and theses and dissertations not available for some years.
Summary of the data retrieval

Of the 1750 publications retrieved initially, 1359 publications were finalized after removal of duplicates.

Summary of the data extraction for the NCD bibliographic review

    Description No.
    1 Type of publication
    2 Full article (International & Local) 573
    3 Conference proceedings/abstracts 686
    4 Thesis/Dissertations 100
    By classification
    1 Burden of chronic NCDs 241
    2 Risk factor burden 153
    3 Risk assessment/associations 250
    4 Screening for NCD or complications 140
    5 Clinical/histological/genetic presentations of NCDs/Complications 42
    6 Management and follow-up 256
    7 Interventions- Pharmacological/Non-pharmacological 20
    8 Quality of care/Audit 69
    9 Side effects/complications of interventions/treatments 33
    10 Treatments for chronic NCDs/Complications/risk factors 97
    11 Utilization of services 105
    12 Survival analysis 82
    13 Lifestyle related behaviours- health promotion and education 58
    14 Costing 16
    15 Laboratory-based experiments and innovations 48
    16 Health information systems 10