India calls for an improved response to non-communicable diseases

April 5, 2013 10:20 pm 

NEW DELHI, April 5 — India called for a major scaling up of attention to address the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country, especially high blood pressure, which is the focus of World Health Day this year.

High blood pressure affects one in three adults worldwide and leads to more than nine million deaths globally every year.

According to Secretary of Health and Family Welfare, Keshav Desiraju, the prevalence of NCDs such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancers is increasing.

"High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease; in 2008, 24 percent of all deaths in India were from cardiovascular diseases," he said at the National Conference organized by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the World Health Organization (WHO) to celebrate World Health Day 2013.

He stressed the need to address the major risk factors such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco intake, and harmful use of alcohol by creating awareness on promotion of healthy lifestyle and habits among the community.

He urged for a stronger focus on high blood pressure, the theme of the World Health Day 2013 as part of a comprehensive approach to NCDs.

He revealed that the government plans to scale up the response to the NCDs epidemic by expanding the National Program for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) from 100 districts at present to cover all districts in the country during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17).

Desiraju also spoke about the steps taken by the government of India for early detection of diabetes and blood pressure.

He added that under the NPCDCS, about 17.6 million persons aged 30 years and above have been screened for diabetes and hypertension, out of which 7.22 percent were suspected of having diabetes and 6.59 percent hypertension.(PNA/Bernama)

JBP/JNC

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