Diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart attack that are commonly referred to as non-communicable diseases could cause much strain to the Indian economy, claiming approximately $237 of the health care cost by 2015, according to estimates by World Health Organization.
While India lost five million people in 2005 to NCD, the toll might reach 60 million due to health related problems by 2015, says Robert Beaglehole, director of NCD, WHO.
He was speaking at an international symposium on cardiovascular diseases, strokes and diabetes at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here.
'While India is poised to receive an 11 percent downturn in infectious diseases in 2006, the country would witness a 35 percent growth in diabetic patients and 18 percent growth in cardiovascular patients,' Beaglehole said.
He said since these diseases were affecting the younger age group, the economic impact on the country would be enormous.
'As people in the working age group (30-59) would increasingly succumb to such diseases, India would lose around $237 billion,' he warned.
In 2005, India lost an estimated $9 billion in national income from premature deaths due to such illnesses.
Speaking about the new report, 'Preventing Chronic Diseases: A Vital Investment', which he unveiled Friday, Beaglehole said: 'In the Southeast Asian region alone 54 percent of all deaths are due to chronic diseases and as many as 89 million people will die of it in this region in the next 10 years.'
With such a pandemic threat lurking, Beaglehole said that WHO proposes a global goal - to reduce the projected trend of chronic disease death rates by two percent per year till 2015.
'This may prevent 36 million people from dying of these diseases in the next 10 years,' he said.