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Incidence of non-communicable diseases in India rose by 25 % since 1990

15 November 2017

The life expectancy of a person born in India in 1960 was 40 years, which has increased to about 70 years now.

It is on this last aspect that the work of the India State-level Disease Burden Initiative is crucial for health progress in India. And on top of this, vast inequities exist among states.

The contribution of injuries to the total disease burden has increased in most states since 1990.

A clear shift is visible in the pattern of the common disease during this period. This has huge implications for policymakers because it means that one health policy and uniform health schemes may not be workable for all the states.

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He was addressing the gathering after releasing the "India State-level Disease Burden Report and Technical Paper", an initiative by the Indian Council of Medical Research in collaboration with Public Health Foundation of India and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (University of Washington, Seattle), here today. Over 200 experts from 100 Indian institutions participated in this initiative.

On the other hand, the burden due to outdoor air pollution is highest in a mix of northern states, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bihar and West Bengal.

The goal of this Initiative, which was launched in October 2015, was to produce the best possible state-level disease burden and risk factors trends from 1990 onward as part of the Global Burden of Disease study, utilising all identifiable epidemiological data from India and in close engagement with the leading health scientists of India.

As per the Lancet study, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Chattisgarh have the highest disease burden rates, while Kerala and Goa have the lowest rates.

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Of the total disease burden, 61% was due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases in 1990, which dropped to 33% in 2016. It also said that besides malnutrition and the air pollution, dietary risks, high systolic blood pressure and diabetes posed as some of the major risk factors in India in 2016. Air pollution was the second leading risk factor in India, contributing to India's burden of cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and lower respiratory infections.

Air pollution is proving to be another significant threat, especially household air pollution, which was responsible for 5% of the total disease burden in India in 2016, and outdoor air pollution for 6%.

The incidence of NCDs rose from 30 percent of the total disease burden in 1990 to 55 percent in 2016. While diarrhoeal diseases (13.2%) topped the death and disability index (DALY) in 1990, ischemic heart diseases (10.3%) has become the major cause by 2016. The report also analysed change in mortality rates due to the changes in medical advancements - across Indian states. "This report will play a major role taking more specific action to improve the health and lives of the poor with special focus on the states that are relatively less developed". He suggested that generation of such comprehensive estimates for each district. Such evidence-based health planning in each state would result in health improvements in every state, reduce the health inequalities between the states, and help make more rapid progress towards achieving the overall health targets for India.

Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, President of PHFI, pointed out that the contribution of non-communicable diseases to health loss had doubled in the past two decades.

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Incidence of non-communicable diseases in India rose by 25 % since 1990