The UN agency has warned countries, including India, against premature deaths due to NCDs and said governments must step up efforts immediately. “Limited national progress has been made in the fight against NCDs–primarily cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, cancers and diabetes–which are the world’s biggest killers, and claim the lives of 15 million people aged 30 to 70 years annually,” the UN agency said.
According to the data, NCDs are the leading cause of death globally and responsible for 70% of deaths worldwide.In India, a total of 58,17,000 deaths were estimated from diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart problems in 2016. While the percentage of deaths from NCDs is still lower in India compared to many other countries across the world, experts are concerned the burden is rapidly increasing because of changing lifestyle and factors like pollution. Four risk factors responsible are tobacco, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. Major metabolic risk factors are obesity , and raised blood pressure, blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels, the report says.
Cardiovascular diseases (coronary heart disease, stroke, and hypertension) contribute to 45% of all NCD deaths, followed by chronic respiratory disease (22 %), cancer (12 %) and diabetes (3%). Moreover, despite having a lower percentage of deaths from NCDs, the share of premature deaths in India due to such diseases is quite significant. Cancer, diabetes and heart diseases alone account for 55% of the premature mortality in India in the age group of 30-69 years. “Bolder political action is needed to address constraints in controlling NCDs, including the mobilisation of domestic and external resources and safeguarding communities from interference by powerful economic operators,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, directorgeneral of WHO.
Of late, the health ministry initiated several measures to tackle the increasing burden of NCDs. For instance, the ministry has started a massive free door-to-door screening programme for early detection of cancer, heart disorders and diabetes. The programme, which was flagged off in February , aims to cover 200 districts nationwide by 2018. Besides, the government has also started schemes to set up cancer centres across the country .While 31 such hospitals have already been built under the programme, 49 more are in the pipeline by 2020.