COPCORD- Fact Sheet 2019

Community Oriented Program for Control of Rheumatic Diseases)

‘Community’ is the foundation stone. Measuring the burden of musculoskeletal (MSK) pain and arthritis in the community is the first step (Stage I). The program is led by a grass root professional who is often a rheumatologist. Some of the essential ingredients are a ‘low cost low infrastructure model’, ‘standard questionnaire’ and a ‘clinical approach’.

COPCORD was envisaged by mostly rheumatologists and launched conjointly by WHO and ILAR (International League of Associations for Rheumatology) in early 1980s. The focus was on developing economies. APLAR has funded several COPCORD. The maiden survey was carried out in Philippines.

The COPCORD Doctrine envisaged three principal stages:-

Stage I: Population survey to be carried out in 3 phases

  1. Phase 1- Screen the sample to identify respondents (MSK positive); the primary question is
    MSK pain/swelling/deformity/restricted motion (past or current)
  2. Phase 2: record symptoms, function and disability in respondents
  3. Phase 3: Standard rheumatology evaluation of respondents.

Note: A well-defined population is identified a-priori. Sample may be convenience or random. Trained paramedics and volunteers complete Phases 1 and 2. Investigations are minimal. The phases were earlier completed in ‘series’ but a fast tract model with phases completed concurrently was introduced by COPCORD Bhigwan (India) 1996 and followed. A core questionnaire (CCQ) is used by all surveys but the investigator can add or modify CCQ to suit local conditions and requirements.

Stage II: Identify risk factors and incidence cases (prospective); impart health education

Stage III: Devise and carry out preventive and control strategies (prospective).

Several APLAR countries have completed COPCORD surveys and published reports: *Australia, *Bangladesh, *China, *India, *Indonesia, *Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam. Myanmar and Nepal have begun COPCORD. Taiwan completed some surveys like COPCORD. Few countries like China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Iran have initiated Stages II and III in a limited manner. COPCORD Bhigwan is the longest serving COPCORD in the World (1996 till date). COPCORD is also carried out in several Latin America countries and some Africa countries.
*Completed several surveys at multiple distant urban and rural sites.
Disclaimer: Theis based on the information available with the COPCORD website (Source: information.asp) and may require an update and revision. The information is compiled by Dr Arvind Chopra, COPCORD APLAR Co-ordinator (Email: