New Delhi: The government Thursday launched a new programme to detect, prevent and control the spread of cancer, diabetes, heart ailments and strokes with an outlay of Rs.1,230.90 crore ($275 million) for the next two years.
The programme will be implemented in 100 districts across 15 states and union territories through mass education and by promoting healthy lifestyle, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said.
The decision to launch the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke was taken at a meeting Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Chidambaram said the programme also involved screening of people above 30 to understand the risk potential, as also establishment of well-equipped clinics and community health centres.
"Under the programme, it is expected to screen more than 70 million adults above 30 years of age for diabetes and hypertension, early diagnosis of non-communicable diseases and treatment," the home minister said.
The cabinet meeting took note of the fact that as per estimates of the World Health Organisation (WHO), cardiovascular diseases will be the largest cause of death and disability in India by 2020.
At the same time, it was also estimated that the prevalence of diabetes in the country was 6.25 percent of the population, while that for hypertension was as high as 15.95 percent.
This apart, the incidence of hypertension and heart diseases was 3.7 percent and 0.15 percent, respectively. In absolute terms, the number of cancer patients in the country was also large at 2.5 million.
"The cost implication of non-communicable diseases to society are enormous and run into thousands of crore of rupees that include direct costs to people with illness, families and indirect costs to society," said the cabinet note.
"Therefore, the appropriate strategies have been devised to be implemented under National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke to ensure that these can be prevented and managed in an effective manner."
The meeting also felt that health promotion and prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases are yet to be adequately addressed in the country’s health system, even as clinical services are inadequately ill-equipped.
"With the successful implementation of the programme, it is expected to achieve behavioural change in the community to adopt healthy lifestyles, enhanced physical activity and reduced intake of tobacco and alcohol."