The Indian Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad urged recently during a review meeting with the State functionaries for effective implementation of programmes funded by the Government of India.
The programmes under reiew were the National Programme for Prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio Vascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS), the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE); the scheme for delivery of contraceptives at homes; scheme for promotion of menstrual hygiene and the Mother and Child Ttracking System for ensuring full immunization and maternal benefits coverage.
Azad was addressing the State Health Secretaries and functionaries in New Delhi in a day long review meeting for ensuring better participation by State Health Departments. Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, Sudeep Bandyopadhyaya, Union Secretary of Health & Family Welfare, P.K. Pradhan and senior officials of the Ministry of H&FW were present in the review meeting.
Azad said that in the coming years, a comprehensive approach is being planned to prevent and control major Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors. “Our goal is to develop a health system that is capable of preventing, diagnosing and managing NCDs in each district of the country.
To achieve this goal efforts, in the coming years, would be to provide universal access to basic services required for managing NCDs. He urged whole hearted cooperation of State governments’ in this venture, without which the best of Government of India’s intentions will not be translated into practice, Azad said.
Azad said, “it’s time that this monumental challenge is taken seriously and we act together to prevent and control NCDs by providing information and care to those who have or are at risk of suffering from these diseases”. Shri Azad emphasized that these programmes should be accorded the priority they deserve by the health functionaries at various levels.
The Minister said “It is important to remember that the burden of NCDs is increasing exponentially and early screening and treatment are critical tools we have to combat these life-long ailments”. Azad warned that NCDs like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases are reaching epidemic proportions worldwide and India is no exception.
NCDs have silently emerged as the leading cause of death, disability and disease the world over, including India. In India, NCDs like heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive lung disease, cancer and injuries have already become the dominant cause of disease burden contributing about 2/3rd of the total disease burden. The number of deaths attributed to chronic diseases was 3.78 million in 1990 (40.4% of all deaths) and is projected to reach an expected 7.63 million in 2020 (66.7% of all deaths).
Azad informed of the Government's awaress of the challenge of combating NCDs, reflected by the fact that the Government of India launched the “National Programme for Prevention & Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio Vascular Diseases (CVDs) and Stroke (NPCDCS)”in the year 2010. The National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE) was also initiated at the same time to address health issues affecting our elderly population.
Azad added “we aim to expand the programme in all 640 districts of the country in the 12th five year plan and, therefore, are eagerly looking forward to the feedback from all of you in order to learn from field level implementation issues”.
He reiterated that the basic objective of the national programme is to ensure early detection and, therefore, treatment by creating facilities at Tertiary Care Centers, Districts Hospitals, and Community Health Centers and at Sub Centre level.
Under NPCDCS, the Government of India is providing the Glucometers, Strips and needles while the State Governments have to provide the manpower. Covering 20,000 rural sub-centers and urban slums, the target is to screen about 15 to 20 crore (150-200 million) people by March 2012. The Centre has provided support at the rate of Rs.1 lakh per patient for major components of the programme.
Funds have been released to states for various components of NPCDCS and NPHCE, Azad informed. The Minister added that under the cancer component of the programme 65 tertiary cancer centres (TCC) are proposed to be established. He asked the state health secretaries to send their proposals for TCCs at the earliest, and for taking urgent steps to establish tertiary cancer centres.
Under the National Programme for Health Care of Elderly, eight Regional Medical Institutions have to establish Regional Geriatric Centres for providing tertiary care to elderly, and these have been sanctioned Rs. 20 million each by Government of India for 30 bedded facility. The Minister urged the State Health Secretaries to expedite proposals for utilizing the grants in full.