New Delhi: With lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension posing a huge health risk to India, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Tuesday said the government is planning to screen over five crore (50 million) people for these ailments before September.
"The WHO and UN has taken note of the gravity of diabetes and hypertension. We will screen five crore persons before September 2011 when UN General Assembly will hold a special session to discuss means and measures to control these diseases," he said, after inaugurating a camp to screen slum-dwellers in Delhi for lifestyle diseases.
"We all are concerned about non-communicable diseases which become cause for 50 percent total deaths in the country. It has been learnt that cancer and diabetes are going to affect our country badly," Azad said.
The camp is a part of government`s initiative to launch a major drive for free screening of diabetes and hypertension in 100 select districts and 33 cities with more than 10 lakh population.
There are 5.1 crore diabetic patients in India, the second-most in the world after China. More than 30 lakh people around the world die due to diabetes every year. In India, 1.75 lakh people died due to diabetes in 2005 and the number is likely to touch 2.36 lakh in 2015.
Azad also said a pilot project costing Rs.1,230 crore to control cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and stroke in 100 districts of 21 states and urban slums in 33 cities has been approved.
"Under the pilot project, a cardiac care unit at cost of Rs.1.5 crore will be established at 100 district hospitals," he said, adding centres for non-communicable diseases will also come up at 100 district hospitals and 700 other places for diagnosis and management of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and stroke.
Each district hospital will be provided Rs.50,000 for medicines, Azad added.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who was also present on the occasion, said the campaign has been focused on slums as the population there has poor access to health facilities for the treatment of such life-long conditions.
"The statistics on diabetes and high blood pressure are alarming. The government is committed to contain damage of such diseases at the earliest, so that the diseases may not become fatal," she said.
According to sample survey done by government, the prevalence of diabetes is around 10 percent in urban adults and 3.5 percent in rural adults.