By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Dec 6: Faced with the “triple burden” of diseases, India
will now screen all its citizens above 30 years of age for
non-communicable diseases including those related to heart and blood
Inaugurating the three-day International Scientific Conference of the
World Allergy Organisation here on Thursday, Union Minister for Health
and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Central government had
earlier taken up screening of people for cardiovascular diseases in
select 100 districts. “The programme will now be extended to the whole
of India covering all people above 30 years of age,” he said.
Ghulam Nabi Azad said there were no financial constraints for the
ambitious programme but there was definitely shortage of trained
manpower. “India produces healthcare professionals not just for
itself, but also for developed nations like the USA and the UK.
One-fourth of the doctors from India are providing healthcare
facilities in the UK,” he said.
Stating that India is faced with the triple burden of the persistence
of communicable diseases, new and re-emerging infections and the
increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases, Ghulam Nabi Azad
said the scourge of diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer and
chronic respiratory diseases, is posing a mounting challenge to
healthcare practitioners, administrators and policy makers in terms of
the increasing complexity of treatment, life-long- management and
rising demand for more resources.
Globally 300 million people suffer from asthma and it causes about
2,50,000 deaths annually. According to the World Health Organization
the number of patients, having asthma is expected to increase to 400
million by 2025. About 400 million people suffer from rhinitis, 200
million to 250 million people suffer from food-allergies and one tenth
of the population suffers from drug allergies.
About 20 to 30 per cent of people in India are having one or more
allergic diseases and their prevalence is rising dramatically. Taking
children and adults together, there are nearly 30 million asthmatics
in the country today, which constitutes about 10 per cent of the
global burden of asthma.
“Some studies show that 10 to 15 per cent of the Indian population
suffers from some form of allergic disease or the other. While pollen
from trees, grass and weeds, insects, pet dander and house-dust mite
are all causes of allergic rhinitis and asthma, one of the main
trigger factors of these allergies in India.
Globalization is creating an inter-dependence that affects both the
risks of disease and their potential solutions.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy later hosted dinner for the
visiting dignitaries from about 80 countries.
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