Non-communicable diseases on rise in India—WHO

The probability of a 30-70 year old Indian dying from the four main non-communicable diseases—diabetes, cancer, stroke and respiratory diseases—is 26 percent at present, according to the World Health Organization.

According to the Global Status Report, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) would claim nearly 52 million lives globally by the year 2030. Nearly 8.5 million people died of NCDs diseases in the WHO’s South-East Asia Region in 2012.

In India, NCDs are estimated to have accounted for 60 percent of all deaths in 2014, while 26 percent between the ages of 30-70 years had a high probability of succumbing to the four diseases. The report highlights the need to act immediately. It said that all governments must commit and set national yearly NCD targets and implement policy and cost-effective interventions for prevention and control of major non-communicable diseases.

High rates of death and disease, particularly in low and middle income countries, is a reflection of inadequate investment in cost-effective NCD interventions.

The WHO has recommended that all countries implement the “best buys” interventions. These cost-effective, high-impact interventions include banning all forms of tobacco and alcohol advertising, reducing salt consumption, replacing trans fats with polyunsaturated fats, promoting and protecting breastfeeding, early detection and treatment of high blood pressure and preventing cervical cancer through periodic screening.

Some of the targets set by the WHO include 30 percent relative reduction in mean population intake of salt, a 30 percent relative reduction in prevalence of current tobacco use in those aged more than 15 years, and a 25 percent relative reduction in the prevalence of raised blood pressure.

The first UN General Assembly high-level meeting on NCDs took place in 2011 and resulted in the adoption of a Political Declaration that put the prevention and control of NCDs high on the development agenda. The second high-level meeting took place in 2014 where countries committed to setting national NCD targets in 2015. In 2018, the UN General Assembly will convene a third high-level meeting to take stock of national progress in attaining the voluntary global targets by 2025.

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