Need to tackle monumental challenge of non-communicable diseases: AzadNovember 17th, 2011 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) India needs to “seriously” take up the “monumental challenge” of tackling non-communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, which account for 50 percent of deaths in the country, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Thursday.
“It’s time that this monumental challenge is taken seriously and we act together to prevent and control NCDs by providing information and care to those who have or are at risk of suffering from these diseases,” he said.
Azad was addressing state health secretaries here in a day-long review meeting on ensuring better participation of the states in providing better healthcare facilities to the people.
“It is important to remember that the burden of NCDs is increasing exponentially and early screening and treatment are critical tools to combat these life-long ailments,” Azad said.
Warning that NCDs like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases are reaching epidemic proportions worldwide and in India too, he said: “NCDs have silently emerged as the leading cause of death, disability and disease, the world over, including India.”
“In India, NCDs like heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, cancer and injuries have already become the dominant cause of disease burden contributing about two-thirds of the total disease burden,” he said.
Quoting figures, Azad said the number of deaths attributed to chronic diseases was 3.78 million in 1990 (40.4 percent of all deaths) and is projected to reach an expected 7.63 million in 2020 (66.7 percent of all deaths).
The government is planning a “comprehensive approach” to “prevent and control” major NCDs and their risk factors, he said.
“Our goal is to develop a health system that is capable of preventing, diagnosing and managing NCDs in each district of the country.
“Towards this our efforts in the coming years, we aim at providing universal access to basic services required for managing NCDs and I urge you to extend your state government’s whole hearted cooperation in this venture, without which the best of government’s intentions will not be translated into practice,” the minister said.
Keeping the disease burden in mind, he said, the government launched the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs) and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 2010.
He said they have also launched the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE).
“We aim to expand the programme for elderly in all 640 districts of the country in the 12th Five Year Plan,” he added.
Azad reiterated that the basic objective of the national programmes is to ensure early detection and thus providing treatment by creating facilities at the local level.
He also urged the states to ensure effective implementation of all the national programmes funded by the central government.
Minister of State for Health Sudeep Bandyopadhyaya, Health Secretary P.K. Pradhan and senior officials of the health ministry were also present on the occasion.
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