Expert Roundtable on Non-Communicable Diseases Emphasizes Prevention and Global Cooperation

Although preventable, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung diseases are a major cause of death and disability among Indians

Feb 17, 2012, 05:31 ET from India Health Progress(IHP)

NEW DELHI, February 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

India Health Progress (IHP) in association with Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) today organized an expert roundtable on 'Non-Communicable Diseases Burden in India: Strategizing the Way Forward' at Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. The conference stressed that Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are the prime cause of death and disability worldwide, having killed more than 36 million people in 2008. Indians are presently prone to four major NCDs - cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung diseases.

Speaking at the event, Dr Kenneth Thorpe,Chairman- PFCD, said: "Since Indians have high risk factors for NCDs, preventive measures should be implemented urgently. WHO data indicates there will be a cumulative rise in heart diseases, stroke and diabetes, with India slated to lose $237 billion between 2005 and 2015 due to illness-related causes. But nations cannot act in isolation; global cooperation is imperative to combat the NCD epidemic."

Chronic NCDs have replaced communicable diseases as the most common causes of morbidity and premature mortality worldwide. About 80% of disease burden occurs in low and middle-income nations, with 25% being individuals under 60 years. By 2015, two diseases - cardiovascular diseases and diabetes - are expected to reduce global GDP by 5%. Recognizing the threat, India's 12th Five-Year Plan will cover major NCDs such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke, chronic pulmonary diseases, chronic kidney diseases, mental disorders, Iodine Deficiency Disorders and ortho-dental disorders.

Dr Anil Dhall, ex-HOD & Director, Cardiology, Artemis Gurgaon, said, "To boost the prevention of NCDs, all hospitals in India should focus on community needs rather than bottom-line pressures. Coming to individuals, as advice about lifestyle changes are resisted, awareness and attitudinal change are crucial."

Dr S V Madhu, Prof and HOD-Department of Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, said, "Simply raising slogans or awareness levels won't work in controlling NCDs. Behavioural change strategies and healthy family environments are imperative. Containing the problem at the family level delivers cascading benefits at the societal level."

Other keynote speakers included Dr Damodar Bachani, Ex-Deputy Director General, NCDs, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; DrTarun Seem, MBBS, IRS; and Dr Prashant Mathur, Scientist D, ICMR. While Dr Bachani discussed the socio-economic impact of NCDs, Dr Seem spoke about defining the role of public and private entities to combat the burden, Dr Mathur touched upon the role of research and Dr Dhall dwelt upon effective techniques and building capacity to tackle rising prevalence rates. A roundtable discussion followed the speeches, wherein participants made myriad suggestions to combat NCDs.

Thanking participants for their insights and suggestions, Mr Aman Gupta, Principal Advisor, IHP, concluded: "With sustained exposure to risk factors such as tobacco, unhealthy diets, obesity, sedentary lifestyles and stress being the main cause of NCDs, it devolves upon all stakeholders to ensure that lay people are sensitized to the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles. As cures can be costly, time-consuming and disruptive, it's best that individuals and the authorities pursue preventive steps. Since the multi-stakeholder approach is best to tackle NCDs, IHP acts as a catalyst in bringing all stakeholders together to address this burgeoning problem."

About India Health Progress

An independent body launched on 15 August 2010, IHP seeks to bring together all likeminded entities and experts - doctors, healthcare spokespersons, opinion leaders and policy-makers - to address longstanding issues of healthcare and its inaccessibility in India. IHP therefore organizes periodic expert roundtables to facilitate relevant policy reforms and propel healthcare issues into public consciousness.

About Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

The PFCD is a national and state-based US coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of policies and practices that save lives and reduce health costs through more effective prevention and management of chronic disease. More than 120 leading organizations from across the US, and hundreds of partners in the 17 states where the PFCD is active, have joined the organization since its launch in May 2007.  

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SOURCE India Health Progress(IHP)