India’s Union Health Minister, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, recently addressed the annual meeting of the Friends of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Mental Health. During his speech, he highlighted the significant global health challenge posed by NCDs, which account for nearly 74% of all deaths worldwide. In India, the percentage is slightly lower, at 63% of all deaths. Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya emphasized the urgent need to prioritize prevention and control measures for NCDs in the 21st century.
To address this challenge, India has developed a National multi-sectoral action plan for the prevention and control of common NCDs. This plan serves as a roadmap and offers a menu of policy options to guide the efforts of other Ministries/Departments in achieving NCD targets. The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD) is being implemented to strengthen infrastructure, human resource development, and the diagnosis and management of NCDs. Additionally, additional diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Asthma, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Stroke, ST-Elevated Myocardial Infarction, and Chronic Kidney Diseases have been added to the program.
To improve the reach and efficiency of NCD prevention and management programs, India is leveraging digital health technologies. Telemedicine, mobile health applications, and data analytics are being utilized to enhance patient engagement, improve access to care, and facilitate monitoring and evaluation. Through the National NCD Portal, primary-level information is recorded at public health facilities for reporting and monitoring individual-wise screening and treatment adherence for NCDs. Ayushman Bharat Health Account Numbers are being maintained for every individual with NCDs, enabling better tracking and management.
India’s National Health Policy focuses on achieving the highest possible level of health and well-being for all. Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres provide population-level interventions for the prevention, screening, control, and management of five common NCDs. Initiatives such as regular Yoga sessions, Zumba sessions, Walkathons, Cyclothons, “Eat Right India” for healthy eating, and “Fit India” for exercise have become nation-wide movements.
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana provides health assurance/insurance coverage for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization, with over 600 million beneficiaries receiving Rs. 5 lakh coverage per family per year.
Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya stressed the need for collaborative efforts among various stakeholders to effectively address the burden of NCDs. The commitment of the central and state governments, healthcare professionals, international organizations, NGOs, and community organizations is essential in tackling this challenge. India is fully committed to the cause of prevention and control of NCDs and acknowledges the global efforts in this direction. The country is moving towards the concept of wellness through a “Whole of Government and Whole of Society” approach.
In concluding his address, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya urged the global community to join hands in addressing the challenges posed by NCDs. Strong and strategic leadership, cost-effective interventions, and a multi-sectoral approach are crucial in combating NCDs and promoting global health and well-being.