Press Release

Press Release

PFCD India, NHSRC release Advocacy Paper to sensitize policy makers towards growing burden of NCDs, its socio-economic impact

New Delhi, September 21st 2016: The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) with technical support from the National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) on October 4, 2016 released an advocacy paper – “NCDs in the Development Agenda”. This paper is an attempt to sensitize decision makers at all levels towards the growing burden of non-communicable diseases and shape their opinion towards a multi-stakeholder approach.

According to the PFCD Chairman Dr. Kenneth Thorpe, “Substantial burden of NCDs limits the government’s ability to address this public health concern single-handedly. No one single player can successfully deal with the challenges associated with it.” Dr Thorpe is also the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Health Policy at Emory University, the Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Rollins School of Public Health.

Explaining the need for a shift in the policy and development agenda, Dr Sanjiv Kumar, Executive Director, NHSRC said that of the estimated 98.16 lacs deaths in India in 2014, NCDs hold over 60 per cent share (5,869,000). It accounts for 53% of the disease burden, he said, adding that evidence demonstrates that NCDs not only affect health and quality of life, but also productivity and economic growth.

“Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has initiated action on many fronts but with such a high disease burden, the government will not be able to address the issue on its own. What’s required is a multi-sectoral approach from all,“ Dr Kumar said, adding that there is an urgent need for effective intervention strategies at the grassroot level.

According to Dr Thorpe, “Our elected as well as nominated representatives can play an important role in not only creating awareness amongst the people, but also mobilising resources and support from all concerned groups to strengthen early screening, diagnosis and primary care. He said the suggestion for an advocacy toolkit unanimously came from the experts across the country, who had earlier participated in the PFCD-held consultation programmes.
Public health experts have often said despite the fast changing disease profile, awareness levels in the country still continue to be low. Most NCD cases, including cancer, cardio-vascular diseases and others are diagnosed late, primarily due to low awareness levels and lack of early screening.

Dr Thorpe said the need of the hour is to build awareness and preventive strategies. “And who better than our elected and nominated members, who are not only well connected with the people in their respective constituencies, but also hold significant influence to bring about a change.”

About PFCD:

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is a global organization committed towards raising awareness about Non Communicable Diseases. PFCD has been working in India for several years and aims to act as a catalyst to bring together all the relevant stakeholders in order to find sustainable solutions and advocating the need for a holistic approach to address the growing disease burden.

About NHSRC:

National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) has been set up under the National Rural Health Mission (now National Health Mission) of Government of India. NHSRC’s directive is to assist in policy and strategy development in the provision and mobilisation of technical assistance to the states and in capacity building for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) at the centre and in the states.

Experts Urge for Early Detection; Adequate Allocation of Resources to Address NCD Burden

Due to dependence on out-of-pocket costs, preventive care and early opportunities to manage health risks are often forgone

New Delhi, April 6, 2016: Health experts have strongly advocated the need for a policy shift and increased resource allocation to address the growing burden of diabetes and related complications in the country.

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Estimated Mortality in 2014,
WHO-NCD Country Profile

The diabetic population of the world stood at 415 million in 2015, and is estimated to increase to 642 million by 2040. India makes up for 69.2 million of these people, making it the second largest country affected by diabetes and its complications . With World Health Day urging countries to make concerted efforts towards diabetes, India is set to take urgent action to beat diabetes. With close to 1.1 million deaths attributable to diabetes, India is the largest contributor of mortality in the South-East-Asia region, lately drawing the reference of the ‘Diabetes Capital of the World’. India is also home to the second largest number of children with Type 1 diabetes in the world (70,200) .

The costs associated with diabetes include increased use of health services, loss of productivity and disability. As a result, diabetes imposes a large economic burden on individuals and families, national health systems and countries; it therefore represents a significant obstacle to sustainable economic development.

Health Implications of Diabetes

  • Increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to a multinational study, 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke)
  • Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation
  • Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retine. 1% of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes
  • Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure
  • Overall, the risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double the risk of their peers without diabetes

According to Dr. Kenneth E. Thorpe, Chairman, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD), “Untimely diagnosis of conditions such as diabetes leads to development of co-morbid conditions such as obesity, hypertension, cardio vascular disease and chronic kidney disease. Early diagnosis can prevent or delay the long-term health complications of people who are undiagnosed.”

He said for patients to access healthcare facilities for well-timed diagnosis and treatment, policy makers and healthcare experts need to focus on increasing public spend on health. Adequate allocation of resources and funds in the healthcare sector will help patients seek treatment at the primary stage of onset of disease.

PFCD, along with public health experts, policy makers and industry leaders, had released SANKALP – Disha Swastha Bharat Ki, a National Blueprint on NCDs in 2015 that aims to find a result-oriented action plan to prevent, control and manage the growing threat of NCDs in India.

The majority of countries spend between 5% and 20% of their total health expenditure on diabetes whereas India, with the second-highest number of people living with diabetes, spends less than 3% of the global total (ID23 billion) expenditure on diabetes .

Healthcare Financing – the Way Forward

  • Increase public expenditure in healthcare from 1.1 per cent of GDP in 2015 to 3 per cent of GDP in 2020
  • Public and private sector to work in tandem towards Universal Health Coverage
  • Encourage Public-Private-Partnerships for training, medical education, diagnostic equipment and preventive care delivery requirements

Increased public health spend will ensure that resources are mobilised to improve health of the population through public health efforts to meet preventive and care needs, besides achieving efficiency in allocation of funds and equity.

Dr. Anand Krishnan, Professor, Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), is of the view that, “Nobody disputes that diabetes is among the foremost public health challenge facing India. What is required is to improve access to diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and financial protection for poor patients. At the same time, we need to create an enabling environment for people to make healthy choices through appropriate policies and actions.”

The latest WHO Global Health Expenditure Database notes that in 2013, 85.9% of total private health expenditure in India was paid out-of-pocket by individuals . 30% of identified illnesses in rural India and 20% in urban areas go untreated due to financial constraints. WHO World Health Statistics 2012 have shown that 39 million Indians are pushed to poverty due to diagnostic and treatment costs every year.
According to, Dr. S.V. Madhu, Head, Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital and Immediate Past President, Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, “Given the dependence on out-of-pocket costs, preventive care and early opportunities to manage health risks are often forgone. This leads to greater severity of disease, higher costs for individuals seeking treatment, and significant economic losses for India as a whole. Investments in the health sector are required to mobilise resources, improve health, and protect individuals from financial adversity in the event of catastrophic illnesses.”

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Health experts recommend a National blueprint to address growing ncd burden in India

New Delhi, August 4th, 2014: Prominent experts working in the field of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India have strongly advocated the need for an integrated approach to address the increasing disease burden, saying that any further delay is likely to have a detrimental effect on the economic health of the nation.

Addressing a multi-stakeholder discussion on ‘Facing Our Future: Countering Non-Communicable Diseases in India Through Investments in Innovation’, in New Delhi on Monday, Chairman of Partnership to Fight Chronic Diseases (PFCD) Dr Kenneth E. Thorpe, said, “India finds itself facing its own growing problem with non-communicable illnesses. Diabetes, cancer, vascular diseases, hypertension and stroke are all on the rise in this country. Some of this is the expected effect of an aging population, but other factors include unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity.”

Dr Thorpe is also the Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Rollins School of Public Health at the Emory University.

The discussion, hosted by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Diseases (PFCD), examined the economic impact of chronic NCDs which is at an exponential rise in the country. Experts advocated the need to strengthen national monitoring and surveillance, scaling up the implementation of evidence-based measures to reduce risk factors like tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful alcohol use, and improving access to cost-effective healthcare interventions to prevent complications, disabilities and premature death.

“If projections are true and 100 million people in India are suffering from Type 2 diabetes alone by the year 2040, this will severely undermine plans for a more productive citizenry and will also devastate the nation’s finances because of the resources it will take to care for the growing numbers of ill citizens,” he said.

According to him, India is not the only country facing this public health challenge. “With an 18% GDP spent on healthcare, of which 84% alone is earmarked towards addressing NCDs, the US still continues to face new challenges in tackling this epidemic,” he said, however, adding, “What makes this encouraging is that we can learn from each other’s progress and successes in confronting the escalation of chronic diseases.”

According to the Non Communicable Diseases Country Profiles 2014 released by WHO, NCDs are the biggest global killers accounting 38 million deaths every year with a whopping 28 million in low and middle-income countries, including India. As per the report, NCDs account for nearly 6 million of the total mortality in India, which is 60% of the total mortality reported annually in India. The report further states that India lacks an evidence-based national guideline for the management of these major NCDs through a primary care approach.

Delivering the keynote address, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Lov Verma said, “Recognizing the increasing burden of NCDs, the government has recently initiated a National Multi-Sectoral Action Plan with specific interventions across the affected communities. We have studied the best practiced strategies globally before finalising the action plan. Efforts are on to define the role of various stakeholders at national and sub national levels, research institutes, academia, civil society and international agencies and bring them on one platform which will work towards implementing the action plan for prevention and control of NCDs in the country.”

Presenting the government’s efforts towards addressing the growing burden, Director General Health Services, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India Dr. Jagdish Prasad said, “There is a renewed vision drawn to rebuild the healthcare system in the country. The government is working with a definite agenda to pursue public health issues prioritizing NCDs, recognizing the huge risk it poses for the citizens of India. We are formulating high impact and long term programmes in tandem with different health expert bodies to curb this disease burden.”

Experts deliberated that there is a direct correlation between a healthy population and a productive population that contributes to economic growth. A study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, indicates that NCDs will cost India `126 trillion from now through 2030, an amount that is 1.5 times India’s annual aggregate income and almost 35 times India’s total annual health spending.

According to Professor K. Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), “Most of the non-communicable diseases, for example diabetes or heart disease, affect the person in the productive years. They cause reduced productivity and push families into poverty. Also, they put immense pressure on public health expenditure as in most cases the treatment costs are higher compared to communicable diseases,” he said. Reddy added that the increasing burden of NCDs could adversely impact India of the ‘demographic dividend’ it is projected to reap on account of a predominantly young population.

The multi-stakeholder workshop saw a varied representation from public health experts, policy makers, medical practitioners, patient groups, and pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies.

About Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an internationally-recognized NGO of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs: chronic disease. For a collection of statistics and commentary on the impact of chronic disease, please visit lmanac.fightchronicdisease.org.

For Media Queries:
Aditi Roy
+91 9654957517
aditi.roy@spag.asia

Ritika Jauhari
+91 9716017004
ritika.jauhari@spag.asia

Experts laud inclusion of NCDs in draft National Health Policy; advocate key intervention strategies to address growing burden

March 2, 2015, Ahmedabad: Medical practitioners and health policy analysts across India have strongly advocated the need for an integrated action plan to address the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country.

While lauding the inclusion of NCDs for the first time in the draft National Health Policy 2015, it is being termed as a formative step towards achieving the vision of healthy India. The health experts emphasized that it is important to have a result-oriented action plan, with specific focus on awareness and early diagnosis, systematic approach to NCDs, healthcare financing, and training and development of healthcare workers and paramedical staff.

Underlining the need for an integrated action plan for NCDs in India, Dr. Kenneth Thorpe, the chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Diseases (PFCD) said, “NCDs are the major cause of mortality in India. Building and strengthening primary healthcare network with a focus on disease screening, prevention, risk-factor control and health promotion should form the rudimentary structure of the integrated action plan to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with NCDs.”

He further said that the training and development of healthcare workers in primary setups as well as healthcare financing are equally critical for effective implementation of the action plan.

The PFCD, a global organisation committed towards raising awareness and finding sustainable solutions on NCDs, has been working in coordination with the medical fraternity, policy makers and patient groups to identify the challenges and draw an action plan.

Apart from taking its toll on health, NCDs also affect productivity and economic growth. A recent study by the WHO has found that nearly 26 per cent of the population in India are at the risk of dying young (30-70) from one of the four main NCDs . Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) form a major share of NCDs,while chronic respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes also constitute a major share. Moreover, increased vulnerability of ageing population to NCDs is resulting in economic stress on both the private households and government.

Dr. Rakesh Vyas, Director, Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute said, “It is crucial that both the government and private sector should adopt a unified approach and work in close coordination to identify effective solutions and reduce NCDs burden. A unique combination of disease-specific insurance products, medicines, innovative technology and lifestyle changes can be very beneficial in thwarting the challenge posed by NCDs.”

The strengthening of primary healthcare network is one such critical area where government needs to focus on in order to ensure the success of its action plan. Moreover, the promotion of mainstream alternate therapies like ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy can also result in providing cost-effective management of NCDs, as these conditions require lifelong management.

“India is facing a serious threat from NCDs. A lot has been said and recommended when it comes to preventing and controlling the continuously growing burden of NCDs. Now it is high time that the government should frame strong policies and guidelines, and at the same time create a framework and infrastructure to execute them efficiently, in order to deal with the growing burden,” said Dr. Vyas.

About the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an internationally-recognized NGO of patients, providers, community organizations, business and labor groups, and health policy experts committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability, and rising health care costs: chronic disease. For a collection of statistics and commentary on the impact of chronic disease, please visit almanac.fightchronicdisease.org.
For Media Queries:

Aditi Roy
+91 9654957517
aditi.roy@spag.asia

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