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Science & Technology

Non Communicable Diseases surge in India’s working population finds TARI

Non Communicable Diseases surge in India’s working population finds TARI


  • GS 3 || Science & Technology || Health & Medicine

Why in the news?

There is a link between COVID-19 case fatalities and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) mortality rates. The government should concentrate its efforts on minimizing the effect of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD).

What are NCDs?

  • NCDs are diseases that are caused by stress, a lack of knowledge about a healthy diet, and poor behaviors.
  • In India, NCDs are projected to account for 60% of all fatalities, making them the leading cause of mortality ahead of all other causes.


  • Studies suggest that over 70% of COVID-related deaths are caused by underlying non-communicable illnesses (NCDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
  • NCD prevention and control were critical components of the COVID-19 approach. Previous attempts in India to reduce NCD-related mortality, for example, have resulted in reduced Covid-19 case fatality rates.
  • India’s COVID case fatality rate of 1.16 percent is around half of the global average of 2.17 percent.
  • For every ten percent reduction in the underlying NCD mortality rate, COVID fatality rates drop by twenty percent.

What is India’s NCD strategy?

By 2025, India has created a multi-sector NCD action plan with the goal of reducing worldwide premature mortality from NCDs by 25%.

Major initiatives:

  • Strengthening the health-care system: Increase health-care spending to 8% of GDP. As part of the Atma Nirbhar Swasth Bharat project, the government plans to invest about Rs 64,000 crore in rural and urban health and wellness centers. Approximately 1,20,000 PHCs are being transformed into HWCs to offer primary care for NCD patients.
  • Providing financial security: the PM’s health insurance plan – The project reaches out to 100 million of the world’s most disadvantaged people. It lowers out-of-pocket health costs by increasing the scope of primary care to include NCD screening and diagnosis, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory illnesses.
  • To combat home air pollution: PM Ujjwala Yojana – In 90 million households, the use of LPG instead of polluting wood has decreased the incidence of chronic lung illnesses and cancer in women.

What are the concerns associated with NCD?

  • Socioeconomic consequences: The rise of non-communicable diseases is wreaking havoc on people’s health, families’ health, and communities’ health systems. NCD prevention and control are a key development priority for the twenty-first century due to the socioeconomic consequences associated with these illnesses.
  • Lifestyle: While it’s possible that NCDs are caused by a mix of genetic and physiological variables, there’s no denying that purposeful lifestyle choices (tobacco, alcohol, lack of exercise), poverty, and environmental factors all have a part.
  • Health risk: The major sufferers are those on the lowest end of the economic spectrum who live in filthy, sometimes crime-ridden neighborhoods. Their surroundings incline people to drug, alcohol, and cigarette misuse, which, when paired with low-cost, mainly poor meals, significantly raises their health risk and shortens their lifespan.
  • Rapid unplanned urbanisation, globalisation of unhealthy lifestyles, and population ageing are further predisposing variables that have assured the spread of NCDs to a broader cross section of the population.
  • Uneducated populations: The good news is that the majority of these risk factors can be altered. The bad news is that disadvantaged and uneducated populations are not only unaware of the variables that contribute to poor health, but they also lack access to or the financial means to pay for the health care expenditures associated with NCDs..

What impacts the government funding for treatment of NCD?

  • Large population go misdiagnosed: As governments reorganize health systems to respond to COVID-19, people living with non-communicable diseases (PLWNCDs) are experiencing disruptions in chronic care, such as shortages of essential medicines and technologies, screening and diagnosis, and limited access to resources, such as health workers and support services, all of which are critical for the ongoing management of NCDs. Even under normal circumstances, a large proportion of PLWNCDs go misdiagnosed or are unable to receive therapy to control their illnesses, especially in lower-middle income countries (LMICs).
  • Re-align NCD financing strategies in order to restore health-care system stability: Health-care systems are likely to be strained in the long run as a result of this. Many governments may decide to re-orient NCD financing programs in order to restore health system stability as a top priority, but it’s difficult to predict how this will play out in each nation right now.
  • Access to mental health and psychosocial support services: The COVID-19 epidemic, as well as the reaction to it, represent a threat to mental health and well-being. Some governments may expand access to mental health and psychosocial support services, which might have an impact on NCD financing.
    • However, because some COVID-19 responses, such as physical distance and self-isolation, may increase exposure to some NCD risk factors (e.g., increased alcohol and tobacco use as coping mechanisms, barriers to physical activity and a healthy diet), some countries may invest in promoting healthy behaviors as part of the COVID-19 recovery.
  • Governments’ available resources but no data availability: Although it is impossible to anticipate how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect NCD financing and programs, governments’ available resources are likely to have an impact. While the effects on high-income nations’ health systems would be unprecedented, the biggest effects are predicted in low-income countries with existing severely under-resourced health systems.

Way forward:

  • Reduce the effect of NCDs: In light of COVID-19, addressing NCDs must be viewed as a critical component of health security. Today and in the future, pandemic preparation is contingent on universal health coverage, healthy populations, and a resilient, qualified, and well-resourced health staff. Governments must act quickly to reduce the effect of NCDs, both on their own and in combination with other illnesses such as the coronavirus.
  • Community Engagement: Effective health solutions require the participation of civil society and those who are most impacted and at risk.
  • Accountability: The necessity for rigorous data, monitoring, surveillance, and openness has been highlighted by the emergency pandemic response, particularly the causal link with pre-existing health problems and risk factors.
  • leadership to lead an awareness program is required to make health a priority and to incorporate NCD prevention and management into health and economic security.
  • Medical Care: The COVID-19 pandemic emphasizes the need of all countries fulfilling their commitment to Universal Health Coverage. Every country is only as safe as its weakest health-care system.
  • Find innovative methods: It is critical not just to incorporate care for individuals living with NCDs in national response and readiness plans for COVID-19, but also to find innovative methods to put such plans into action. Everyone must be prepared to ‘build back better,’ i.e., enhance health services so that they are better able to prevent, diagnose, and treat NCDs in the future, regardless of the conditions.
  • Health investment: Building stronger, more resilient health systems that can better respond to health emergencies while continuing to offer vital health services to individuals living with NCDs and other underlying diseases must be a top priority for governments.

Measures taken by the government to combat NCDs:

  • The government started the Fit India Movement, which grew in popularity as a way to increase awareness.
  • More gyms and fitness facilities will also aid in the reduction of hospital infrastructure requirements.
  • In India, a Framework for Telemedicine Use in Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke Management was also published.
  • Telemedicine, which includes teleconsultation, telemonitoring, and tele-triage, will contribute to the development of a continuum of care paradigm for major NCDs.

Mains oriented question:

India is undergoing an epidemiological shift, with poverty-related infectious, maternal, and nutritional disorders coexisting with non-communicable chronic illnesses. Analyze the causes and trends in the spread of non-communicable illnesses, as well as the risk factors that contribute to their spread. (250 words)