Govt stress on preventing diabetes, fighting cancer

Concerned over the rising cases of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer, diabetes and even mental disorders in India, the health ministry has kick-started some key initiatives to promote preventive care to arrest the trend.

"Prevention of diseases will always remain in the forefront, whether for communicable or non-communicable diseases, and awareness regarding a balanced lifestyle and healthy living is a crucial pillar in combating non-communicable diseases," health minister JP Nadda said, launching the initiatives.

The programmes include detailed guidelines for screening of such diseases like cancer, diabetes and hypertension. The ministry has also launched a dedicated awareness campaign to educate people about preventive measures and benefits of exercise, healthy eating and a balanced lifestyle.

According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) assessment, an estimated 60 per cent of all deaths in India are due to non-communicable diseases. Cardiovascular diseases alone account for 26% of the total mortality, while chronic respiratory diseases lead to 13 per cent of deaths. Cancer and diabetes, incidences of which are rapidly increasing in India, accounted for 7 per cent and 2 per cent of mortality respectively in 2014.

Besides, mental helth conditions in India, including depression and schizophrenia, also contribute heavily to NCD burden. Estimates suggest that over 20 million or two crore Indians suffer from mental health conditions. Nadda said there is an urgent need for paying attention to the "preventive aspects" of NCDs.

Emphasising the need for creating wide awareness among people regarding healthy living, Nadda recommended yoga as an integral intervention for prevention and management of such diseases. He said yoga and knowledge in AYUSH system of medicine can be of great help in not only preventing but also controlling non-communicable diseases.

Recently, the health ministry had also drawn an overarching National Multi-Sectoral Action Plan with an aim to reduce premature deaths from cancer, diabetes and heart diseases by 25 per cent by 2025. The ministry also launched a telephony network called M-Diabetes. Under the initiative, with a missed call to 011-22901701 the caller can get more information on diabetes and how to prevent and manage it.

One can also log on to for more information. Besides, special training manuals for different levels of health workers who are engaged in NCD prevention and control, and survey of risk factors for NCDs were launched to generate prospective national level estimates.

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