Centre for expanding ongoing health plans

Centre for expanding ongoing health plans

Even though each of these programmes are currently going on in 100 odd districts, the budgetary support from the central government is too little to make any perceptible change in the public health landscape. But that could very well change in the 12th plan as India plans to make a strong commitment to tackle the non-communicable disease burden at the special UN summit, sources said. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to lead the Indian delegation at the UNGA session in New York on September 19-20, which is only the second UNGA on health mission. The first one took place in 2001 on HIV/AIDS epidemic where Sonia Gandhi had led the Indian delegation.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad informed the Parliamentarians on Thursday that the government would expand the ongoing programmes on non-communicable diseases to cover rural, urban and slum population. According to the World Health Organisation estimates, almost 53 per cent of the total deaths in India — 55 lakh in absolute terms — are caused by chronic diseases. The figure is projected to rise to 60 per cent by 2015.

This happens notwithstanding the fact that non-communicable diseases can be prevented by low cost interventions. Eighty per cent of heart diseases and stroke, 80 per cent of type-2 diabetes and 40 per cent cancers can be prevented by eliminating common risk factors such as poor diet, physical inactivity and smoking, said Renu Garg, regional adviser at WHO. The interventions could range from increased taxation on smokeless tobacco, bidis, cigarettes, unhealthy foods, food labeling, regulation of salt, sugar and harmful trans-fats besides health promotion in schools, she said.

Since non-communicable diseases are chronic, they have a profound impact on the household budget.

Economic analysis available with the WHO shows at the household level 47 per cent of out-of-pocket expenditure on health care was on account of NCDs. Also in 40 per cent cases, the treatment cost is met through borrowing and sale of assets.

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