World Diabetes Day 2018: Spotlight on India
Noncommunicable diseases are increasing at an alarming rate in both rural and urban India, with long-term consequences on the nation’s health and finances.
India currently represents almost 1 out of every 5 cases of diabetes worldwide, with an estimated 72 million in 2017. This figure is expected to almost double to 134 million by 20251.
“The seemingly impossible task of tackling the growing burden of noncommunicable diseases in the country can be achieved by mobilizing the power of partnership, skilled health workers, improved monitoring and increased resources to deliver at scale.”
As the country continues to modernize and grow, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases pose an increasing public health challenge in India. Lifestyle risk factors like a poor diet and lack of physical activity are a leading cause of NCD growth. For example, between 1998 and 2015, the number of male smokers in India increased by over 33 percent.
According to the 2018 Indian National Health Profile, NCDs are responsible for 55 percent of premature deaths among Indians between 30 and 69 years of age.
How India’s government is addressing NCDs
India has been working on several NCD prevention and control programs, including the announcement of the Ayushman Bharat plan by the Prime Minister of India to strengthen comprehensive healthcare service delivery at primary care centers. The program invites public-private partnerships to complement efforts to reduce the burden at India’s tertiary care centers.
The National Health Protection Mission will have major impact on reducing Out of Pocket (OOP) expenditures, with the potential to benefit nearly 40 percent of the poorest & most vulnerable population, with coverage of 5 lakh (500,000 rupees) for each family (no restriction on family size).
Scientific research indicates that the NCD burden can be greatly reduced if cost-effective preventive and curative actions are implemented in an effective manner. Three critical issues currently hinder India’s progress:
- Lack of interventions focused on ensuring the continuum of care from community to secondary care (early detection and management, timely referral, follow-up, prevention of long- term complications, and self-management);
- Inadequate knowledge and skills of health care workers; and
- Divergence of opinion on how best to deliver critical interventions due to insufficient operational experience in implementing NCD programs.
“India needs more collective and collaborative actions to combat NCDs.”
India is striving for increased Policy and Program attention towards NCDs, however, there are implementation challenges at the community and system level– delivery, cost and finance, awareness, capacity, referral, follow up, human resource, insurance, supply and data management.
Project HOPE is working to assist state and national Government bodies in addressing the “how” for implementation of the NCD program at the ground level. HOPE is also supporting Ayushman Bharat on components like Health and Wellness centers and Health Protection missions.
Project HOPE’s commitment and efforts have brought positive impact to the health system, service providers, patients, and the general population of India. Our programs have contributed to successes including: increased capacity of health professionals and improved service delivery at the community level.
“India needs more collective and collaborative actions to combat NCDs,” adds Dr. Laxmikant Palo, Regional Director for South-East Asia at Project HOPE.
Project HOPE recently assisted the national Government with a television commercial on timely screening for NCDs, which will be launched by the honorable Health Minister on November 14 2018 across the nation.
1IDF Diabetes Atlas: Global estimates of diabetes prevalence for 2017 and projections for 2045
Cho, N.H. et al. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice , Volume 138 , 271 – 281