UN's death reduction target for India soon

The United Nations may soon hand over a target of reducing the number of deaths from heart and lung diseases, and cancer by 25 per cent by 2025 to India, which has one of the world’s biggest disease burden.

The voluntary target for India will be a part of global monitoring framework for non-communicable diseases that is likely to be approved by the World Health Organisation in May and UN General Assembly in September.

India’s target will be 25 per cent relative reduction in overall mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases. Moreover, 10 per cent reduction in binge drinking and 30 per cent lowering of salt intake is also on the radar.

In addition, the targets included at least 30 per cent lowering of tobacco use among people with more than 15 years of age and at least 25 per cent reduction in blood pressure at the national level for arresting the rise of non-communicable diseases, K Srinath Reddy, president of Public Health Foundation of India who is involved in writing the framework, told Deccan Herald.

The global monitoring mechanism stems from the United Nations special meeting held in New York in 2011 which flagged non-communicable diseases as one of the serious global risks not only for public health but also for the economy as these diseases strike people in their most productive years.

A quarter of all non-communicable disease (NCD) deaths happens below 60 years in developing countries.
A series of studies on global burden of diseases – published in Lancet – demonstrates the global NCD shot up to 65.3 per cent from 57 per cent in 1990 whereas the communicable disease load came down from 34 per cent in 1990s to 27 per cent in 2012. “India is estimated to lose $237 billion by 2015 due to premature death from non-communicable diseases,” said Nikhil Tandon, professor of endocrinology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, here.

The 2011 UN meeting was only the second time in UN’s history when a special session was convened to inform world leaders on public health dangers. The first such meeting was held on AIDS in 2011.

As a follow up, a global action plan on non-communicable diseases is being framed focusing on 10 indicators including high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol consumption, indoor air pollution, high blood sugar, underweight children, salt use, tobacco use and physical inactivity.

“The UN-WHO motto will be 25 by 25, which means reducing NCD deaths by 25 per cent by 2025. We have little time to act,” added Reddy.

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