The probability of dying pre- maturely from a non-communicable disease like cancer has gone up in India between 2010-2012 and it has emerged as the leading cause of fatalities globally, a WHO report said Monday. The latest global status report on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that the four main NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases.
The report is the second in a triennial series tracking worldwide progress in prevention and control of NCDs. The report states that the probability of dying between 30 and 70 from a non-communicable disease in India has increased to 26.2 per cent in 2012 from 26.1 per cent in 2010. The percentage of such deaths in India is worse than almost the whole of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Among the P5 countries — China, France, Russia, the UK, and the US in 2012 only the Russian Federation has a higher probability of death caused by NDCs than India with a 29.2 per cent chance of a person dying a premature death from it, even though it shows a decrease from 2010.
Switzerland fares the best with a 9.2 per cent chance and Tajikistan the worse with a whopping 40.8 per cent chance of a premature NCD death. Out of the world’s 56 million deaths, NCDs were responsible for 68 per cent — 38 million deaths in 2012 — making it the leading cause of death globally, the report said. More than 40 per cent of them (16 million) were premature deaths under age of 70. Almost three quarters of all NCD deaths (28 million), and the majority of premature deaths (82 per cent), occur in low-and middle-income countries, it said. India in this report has been categorised as a low-middle income country.
Shanthi Mendes, lead author of the report said, “India has the resources. It needs to strengthen its primary health care system in an integrated way not with a vertical approach and working on universal health care coverage. India has reached the space age but what about its people?”
In May 2013 the World Health Assembly adopted the Global NCD Action Plan, for the prevention and control of non- communicable diseases 2013-2020 and a comprehensive global monitoring framework, including a set of nine voluntary global targets and 25 indicators to achieve an overarching target of a 25 per cent reduction of pre-mature mortality from the four major NCDs by 2025.
The nine targets include reduction in harmful use of alcohol, insufficient physical activity, salt/sodium intake, tobacco use and hypertension, halt the rise in diabetes and of obesity, and improve coverage of treatment for prevention of heart attacks and strokes. There is also a target for improved availability and affordability of technologies and essential medicines to manage NCDs.
According to the report, the cost of inaction in low and middle income countries against preventable NCDs would amount to cumulative economic losses of USD 7 trillion as compared to USD 11.2 billion cost of implementing a set of high-impact interventions to reduce the NCD burden during 2011-2025. The report, however, makes no mention of comparable statistics of rich countries that also grapple with NCDs though with better statistics. NCD deaths have increased the most in the Southeast Asian region, from 6.7 million in 2000 to 8.5 million in 2012 with cancers making up for 21.7 per cent — 8.2 million ?- NCD deaths.