- This article discusses the right steps towards prevention to beat Non Communicable Diseases and propel India to its full potential.
NCDs and the Economic Burden
- Over the past three decades, NCDs have become the leading cause of death and suffering, contributing 71% of global deaths.
- In India, NCDs have contributed to 66% of all deaths in 2019 (up from 25% in 1990).
- Heart diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes account for more than half of these deaths.
- WHO predicts 1 in 4 Indians has a risk of dying from an NCD before reaching 70.
- The economic burden on India due to NCDs is expected to be about ₹511 lakh crores by 2030. Overweight conditions and obesity alone plague nearly 17% of our population, annually costing the country ₹2.8 lakh crore, over 1% of its GDP.
- If steps are not taken to curb the spread of just this condition, India will suffer a loss of nearly 2.5% of its GDP, in 2060.
Role of Preventive Health Care
- Preventive healthcare consists of measures taken for the purposes of disease prevention.
- Advantages of preventive health care are
- Reduces the incidence of diseases
- Lowers the burden on the healthcare system
- Improves the quality of life.
- Mortality from NCDs is preventable through various interventions like adult vaccinations, regular health analysis, healthy lifestyle choices and early screening for diseases.
- Need of the hour is to understand and adopt the right ‘prevention-first’ behaviour.
- Our everyday habits need to be designed to put us on a healing path, to live long and truly prosper.
- Investing in preventive healthcare measures will significantly minimize expense in fighting diseases in the long run.
- Better Healthcare infrastructure and medical professionals have to create systems, products and the motivation that enables more and more individuals to adopt preventive solutions.
- By making routine health monitoring or inspections more personalized.
- By leveraging technological advancements to integrate more predictive analysis into diagnosis.
- The healthcare industry must shift its focus from curative to preventive care and encourage every individual to adopt this.
Government Measures in this Regard
- The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke (NPCDCS) is helping increase awareness, setting up infrastructure (like community health centers, NCD clinics, cardiac care units), and already carrying out opportunistic screening at primary health levels.
- There are also initiatives in place to reduce household use of solid fuel as well as tobacco use by 2025.
- While the present efforts of the government will contribute significantly to fight against NCDs, preventive care solutions are needed to build a truly resilient and formidable India.
- A national movement on prevention can inculcate healthier habits, create a safer environment and better medical decision-making.