A senior Indian official has promised to double the funding of healthcare.
It is to go up from the current one percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to two per cent, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the country's Planning Commission said Friday.
Launching a pilot project for prevention and control of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and strokes here, Ahluwalia said the government was committed to extending healthcare to all parts of the country. He urged the Health Ministry to review the progress of the projects under implementation.
The government, he said, should find institutional ways to generate awareness on health and look into the possibility integrating early detection of risks into the system. "I believe that prevention is cheaper than cure. Institutional mechanism is needed to overcome the diseases as health was an area that cannot be left to the market forces," he said.
The Planning Commission was ready to work with the Health Ministry in the insurance sector to find ways for institutionalising regular medical tests for the underprivileged people.
The pilot project is being launched in seven districts of seven States for one year at an estimated expenditure of Rs. 5 crore — each State will get Rs. 49.16 lakh for its implementation. These districts are: Kamrup (Assam), Jalandhar (Punjab), Bhilwara (Rajasthan), Shimoga (Karnataka), Kancheepuram (Tamil Nadu), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) and Nellore (Andhra Pradesh). The total allocation for the project in the XIth Plan was Rs. 1,650 crore.
The changing demographic profile, industrialisation, urbanisation and sedentary lifestyle were causing an increasing burden of chronic diseases.
Non-communicable diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, stroke and chronic lung diseases had emerged as major public health problems in the country. Surveys showed that in 2005, these chronic diseases accounted for 53 per cent (5,466,000) of all deaths (10,363,000) in the country.
The pilot project was planned with the objective of evolving effective promotion, prevention and control strategies to achieve an integrated action plan to fight the chronic diseases. Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said that as chronic diseases would pose the biggest challenge to the health sector in the coming years, there was a need to create awareness on the lifestyle that led to these diseases right from the school level.