India Proposes Comprehensive National Programme on Non-Communicable Diseases ahead of September's UN Summit

26 August 2011

A comprehensive national programme to prevent and control non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and stroke is proposed to be rolled out during the 12th Plan period covering all 640 districts of the country. The programme will focus on health promotion, prevention of exposure to risk factors, early diagnosis, treatment of common non-communicable diseases and rehabilitation services.

Inaugurating the two day National Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi today, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad called for an urgent action to check the rise in heart diseases, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, cancer and injuries which account for 2/3rd of the total disease burden in the country. Shri Azad said India with estimated 5.1 crore diabetics has the second largest diabetic population in the world following China and unless effective measures are taken, India may have 8 crore diabetics by the year 2030. He cautioned, similarly the number of persons affected with cardio-vascular diseases which was about 3.8 crore in 2005 may go up to 6.4 crore by 2015.

Emphasizing on the need for a special attention to mental and neurological disorders, Shri Azad informed that with pursuance from India, mental disorders have been recommended for inclusion in the ambit of key non-communicable diseases at the Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Disease Control held in Moscow in April 2011.

The Minister said that prevention and control of non-communicable diseases are not the issues for health professionals or health policy makers alone. He called for support of Ministry of Agriculture in promoting viable alternatives to tobacco as a commercial crop to control the consumption of tobacco, support of Ministry of Food Processing Industries to address issues of reducing salt and trans-fat content in processed foods and coordinated efforts by Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to work on establishing nutrition security for all.

Shri Azad said, an integrated scheme namely National Programme for Prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio-Vascular Diseases and Stroke and the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly has already been launched in 100 districts in 21 states. The Minister added that under the programme, a Cardiac Care Unit at a cost of Rs. 1.5 crore will be established at 100 district hospitals while non-communicable diseases clinics for diagnosis and management purposes will be established in 100 district hospitals and 700 community health centres. Along with this, he said, common diagnostic services, basic surgery, chemotherapy and palliative care for cancer cases will be made available at 100 district hospitals. Shri Azad informed that 65 centres will be strengthened as Tertiary Cancer Centres to provide comprehensive cancer care services at a cost of Rs. 6.00 crores each.

Elaborating on the Government efforts to prevent and control diabetes, Shri Azad said that 15-20 crore people will be screened for diabetes and hypertension this year. He said initially 100 most backward and inaccessible districts in 21 states and urban slums in 33 cities with population more than 10 lakhs have been selected where all adult males above 30 years of age and pregnant women of all age groups will be screened. Expressing concern over the initial results of the tests in Bangalore and Chennai, he said 14% people in Bangalore were found diabetic and 21% with high blood pressure. In Chennai, out of 3 lakh persons, 50 thousand were found diabetic and 60 thousand hypertensive.

In his address Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay said that it is estimated that by 2015 cardiovascular diseases and diabetes alone may reduce global GDP by 5%. He said economic, physical and social implications of non-communicable diseases justify investment for its prevention and management.

Member Planning Commission, Dr. Syeda Hameed called for strengthening district health system and ensuring community participation in prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. She hoped that the ideas and recommendations from the two days of deliberations at the summit will find place in the ongoing planning process for the 12th Plan.

Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Shri K. Chandramouli underlined the need to strengthen District Hospitals for diagnosis and management of non-communicable diseases including rehabilitation and palliative care. He said each district hospital should have adequate facilities, trained human resources and funds for laboratory tests and medicines required for management of non-communicable diseases.

The World Health Organisation representative to India Dr. Nada Manabde said the policy framework for prevention, control and universal coverage of non-communicable diseases in India is needed along with a multisectoral response to the problem. She said the WHO strongly supports the efforts of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in this regard.

The two day summit has brought together the key stakeholders, policymakers and eminent public health experts who are deliberating on the current scenario vis – a – vis growing burden of non-communicable diseases to arrive at strategic conclusions and actions in this direction. The timing of the summit is important as Heads of States and Governments of all nations would be meeting at the UN High Level Summit on non-communicable diseases in New York in September, 2011.