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Threat of non-communicable diseases looms large on India: WHO report

Posted:  Monday, January 26, 2015

In what can be termed as a warning bell, a World Health Organization (WHO) report has stated that the probability of an Indian aged 30-70 years dying from four main non-communicable diseases (NCDs), namely cancer, diabetes, stroke and respiratory disease is currently 26%.

The Global Status Report on Non-communicable Diseases revealed that NCDs were responsible for 60% of all deaths in India in 2014. This number could increase at an alarming rate if immediate steps to implement changes are not set in place. The report found that although NCDs are a global health challenge, the problem is growing rapidly in the South East Asia region where 2 out of 3 deaths are caused by NCDs.

The WHO South East Asia regional director Poonam Khetrapal Singh recommends adopting simple lifestyle interventions and dietary modifications to prevent a further surge in NCD prevalence. The WHO suggests implementation of ‘best buy’ interventions such as banning all forms of tobacco and alcohol advertisements; promoting breastfeeding; early detection and treatment of high blood pressure; and routine screening for prevention of cervical cancer.

The WHO has additionally set some targets, including achieving a 30% relative reduction in mean population intake of salt/sodium; a 30% relative reduction in current tobacco use among persons aged more than 15 years; and a 25% relative reduction, or control in the prevalence of high blood pressure.

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