Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad reaffirms India's strong commitment to prevent and combat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by improving accessibility and affordability of health care in a concerted and more collaborative manner.
Azad is presently leading a high-level delegation to United Nations Assembly on Prevention And Control of Non-Communicable Diseases.
Addressing the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, which began in New York on September 19, Azad said: "The scourge of Diabetes, Cardio-Vascular Diseases (CVDs), Cancer and Chronic Respiratory Diseases, the four major Non-Communicable Diseases is posing a mounting challenge to health care practitioners, administrators and policy makers alike in terms of both the increasing complexity of treatment and management and rising demand for more resources."
"As far as India is concerned, we are faced with the triple burden of communicable diseases, new and re-emerging infections and the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases. More than half of all deaths are now attributed to Non-Communicable Diseases. However, we must recognize that conditions such as mental and neurological disorders also require special attention," he added.
Ghulam Nabi Azad said that this UN meeting provides "a historic opportunity in reaffirming our commitments, both financial and human resources, for combating the NCDs.
He informed that alarmed by the rising incidence of the non-communicable diseases and its impact on the health care delivery, a national summit was held in India subsequent to the Global Health Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Disease Control in Moscow in April 2011.
"Besides the Delhi Call for Action from the national meet, we now also have 10 key messages from the recently held WHO South-East Asia Regional meeting at Jaipur in India", he added.
Azad emphasized that Non Communicable Diseases are not only a health issue, but also a development issue as they impact productivity and also impoverish the society due to high health expenditures.
Therefore, the Government of India has launched a "National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs) and Stroke (NPCDCS)" and the "National Programme for Health Care of Elderly (NPHCE)".
Heads of State and Government and representatives of States and Governments are meeting at the United Nations from September 19 to 20 to address the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases worldwide, with a particular focus on developmental and other challenges and social and economic impacts, particularly for developing countries.
Non-Communicable Diseases are emerging as the leading cause of disease, disability and death worldwide. The WHO 2004 report on Mortality and Burden of Disease Estimates for WHO Member States estimated that NCDs contributed half (50%) of the total mortality in the country and were the major causes of death.
The UN General Assembly has adopted the political declaration on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, chronic respiratory disease and cancer, which together kill some 36 million people each year. For the first time, global leaders have reached consensus in the General Assembly on concrete actions to tackle these diseases.
The UN Political Declaration paints a grim picture that will unfold in coming decade if we do not show urgent commitments to tackle it. The declaration identifies four NCDs as the major killers such as Cancer, cardiovascular illness, chronic respiratory diseases and Diabetes and four strategies to prevent vast majority of these NCDs - Tobacco, Alcohol, unhealthy food and lack of exercise.