ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Double Impact

The government acknowledges that non-communicable diseases are on the rise in India and need attention.

In popular perception, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis, are diseases of the affluent nations. Developing nations have to contend with illnesses like malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, diarrhoea and those associated with malnutrition. This is no longer true. Countries like India are now suffering what is termed a “double burden” with infectious diseases and those connected with hunger and malnutrition continuing their ruinous march while the NCDs rapidly gain ground. Heeding the changed scenario, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) for implementation during the remaining period of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. The estimated outlay is Rs 1,230.90 crore.

The programme will be implemented in 20,000 sub-centres and 700 community health centres (CHCs) in 100 districts across 15 states/union territories and 32,000 health personnel will be trained at various levels to provide opportunistic and targeted screening, diagnosis and management. This is a case of better late than never. As the cabinet committee noted, NCDs account for over 42% of all deaths with considerable loss in potentially productive years (the 35-64 age group). It also admits that clinical services are not adequately equipped to provide the required level of care for these diseases in primary and secondary healthcare settings.

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