Non Communicable Diseases

Non Communicable Diseases

This article deals with ‘ Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health – Non Communicable Diseases .’ This is part of our series on ‘Governance’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Non Communicable Diseases

  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) aren’t  passed from person to person.
  • They are of long duration and generally slow progression.
  • The 4 main types of NCDs are
    • Cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke)
    • Cancers
    • Chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and
    • Diabetes.

Mortality due to NCDs in India is 60% of all deaths in India

Preston curve

  • In 1975, Samuel Preston showed that if health of nations as measured by life expectancy is plotted against the wealth of nations as measured by GDP per capita, then
    • Up to a point, there is a sharp increase in life expectancy for even the modest increase in GDP per capita.
    • Then the curve suddenly flattens out – and after this point, large increases in public health expenditure are required for modest increase in life expectancy
  • Nobel Prize winning Economist Angus Deaton furthered the argument and explained that bend in the curve also represents the point  of epidemiological transition – when non-communicable diseases start becoming the main cause of death
  • Important for us because – India is now at Point of Bend.
Preston Curve and India
  • Hence, Policy Problem for India is we have to increase expenditure on Health Sector. 

Key Drivers of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India

  1. Governance / Policy Issue: No facility of treating NCDs in Primary Healtcare
  2. Urbanization & mechanisation
    • Decrease in the demand of physical activities in the urban communities
    • Increased reliance on purchased, processed food that is high in sugar,salt and fat
  3. Environment degradation and Pollution : In India, profile of NCDs is different from Developed nations.
    1. India = respiratory diseases  ||  Sweden =  cancer  & obesity .
    2. India = People who die due to NCDs are below age of 70 years || Developed nations = Above 70 years
  4. Poverty:
    • High tobacco consumption => Oral Cancer
    • Use of polluting fuels =>  chronic respiratory diseases

Impact of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) 

  • Households’ Economy :
    • There is prevalence of catastrophic healthcare expenditures which amounts to more than 40% of total non-food consumption expenditure.
  • Children’s Nutrition and Education:
    • Children’s education is often discontinued when poor households are affected by NCDs.
  • Damage to national economy
    • NCDs account for an economic burden in the range of 5–10% of the GDP of India 

Non Communicable Diseases forces large number of people hovering around poverty line to go below poverty line and engulfs them and their future generations in the ‘Poverty Trap.’

How to tackle Non-Communicable Diseases

For India, NCDs pose a very serious threat and great policy dilemma. Reason is , most of the countries face NCD when they have already coped with Communicable diseases . But in India, we haven’t yet tackled completely Communicable diseases and NCDs are already posing threat to us

The government is using a multi-sectoral approach to deal with NCD’s i.e.

  • Providing healthcare facilities & insurance cover 
  • Taxing Sin goods like tobacco and alcohol
  • Generating awareness regarding  NCD
  • Upgrading the Public Transportation System=>  reduce vehicular pollution 
  • Taking help of Yoga – tackling heart & respiratory diseases

Scheme : Fit India Movement

  • Encouraging people to give priority to sports and fitness
  • Will lead to physical fitness and well being

Scheme : National Program against Non Communicable Diseases

  • Started by Government of India against Non Communicable diseases (but it is far from Universal)

Leave a Comment