Hyderabad: 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 circulation.
Inaugurating the three-day International Scientific Conference of the World Allergy Organization in Hyderabad on Thursday, Union minister for health and family welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Central government had earlier undertaken screening of people for cardiovascular diseases in 100 select districts.
“The programme will now be extended to the whole of India covering all people above 30 years of age,” he said.
Azad said there were no financial constraints for the ambitious programme, but there was definitely a 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, Azad said the scourge of diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases, is posing a mounting challenge to healthcare practitioners, administrators and policymakers in terms of the increasing complexity of treatment, lifelong management and rising demand for more resources.
Globally, 300 million people suffer from asthma and it causes about 2, 50,000 deaths annually. The number of patients with asthma is expected to increase to 400 million by 2025, according to the WHO. 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 have one or more allergic diseases and their prevalence is rising dramatically. Taking children and adults together, there are nearly 30 million people with asthma in the country, 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 risk of disease and their potential solutions.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy later hosted a dinner for the visiting dignitaries from about 80 countries.