The WHO–ILAR COPCORD Bhigwan (India) model: foundation for a future COPCORD design and data repository
  Abstract Launched by the International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) and the World
Health Organization (WHO), the Community oriented program for control of rheumatic diseases (COPCORD)
aims to fill the gaps in the knowledge on the global burden of rheumatic musculoskeletal disorders (RMS). During the population survey (Stage I), data on symptoms (pain and disability in focus), rather than diseases or syndromes, is collected. The survey may be followed by a planned stage to impart health education, identify risk factors, and devise preventive and control strategies. Several countries in the Asia Pacific and Pan-America have completed COPCORD survey. Africa has recently joined. Only COPCORD Bhigwan (India) has continued into the tenth year. COPCORD Bhigwan is a fast-track model that has provided significant data on rheumatic disorders. Using COPCORD Bhigwan model, the Bone and Joint Decade (BJD) India has launched several population surveys to measure the RMS burden. There is an urgent need for a COPCORD data repository. Several COPCORD have differed in their methods. Differences pertain to population sample size, techniques for data collection and recording, chronology of events and phases, and classification of symptoms/diseases/disorders. The COPCORD model in current global use needs to be revised. Based on the COPCORD Bhigwan model, a future design for COPCORD is proposed. COPCORD needs to have a uniform and standardized core program with a flexibility to cater to regional needs. It must imbibe some of the recent advances in rheumatology while retaining its socioeconomic appeal. It must have a planned follow-up/longitudinal observational phase. Above all, it must serve and benefit community. WHO–ILAR COPCORD and the global BJD initiative must join hands to serve a common cause of controlling rheumatic musculoskeletal disorders. COPCORD is also a reflection of the ILAR mission statement “think global, act local.”
Keywords COPCORD . COPCORD Bhigwan . ILAR .
Rheumatic disorders . Rheumatology . WHO

What should be the future design of the World Health Organization and International League of Associations for
Rheumatology’s (WHO–ILAR) Community oriented program for control of rheumatic diseases (COPCORD)? How
best can COPCORD fulfill its original objective to “fill the gaps in knowledge of rheumatic musculoskeletal disorders (RMS) disorders, particularly in developing countries?” How should COPCORD adapt to the requirements of the changing world and advances in our knowledge of RMS? COPCORD came into existence over two decades ago [1]. Unfortunately, rheumatology continues to be a lesser known and underutilized science in the developing countries and COPCORD is still unrecognized [2]. The global “Bone and Joint Decade 2001–2010” (BJD) initiative, supported by United Nations and WHO, is a new reality [3] and it ought to be taken more seriously.

My colleagues and I have enthusiastically carried on the COPCORD Bhigwan (India) maiden Indian project for over 10 years in a village in West India since its inception in 1996. The Bhigwan experience or what we prefer to call
the “COPCORD Bhigwan model” has taught us several lessons, which should be considered while proposing a
future COPCORD design.