Communicable and non-communicable diseases are an important component of India’s National Health Mission (NHM). The true extent of non-communicable diseases is fully understood by the world hence their risk factors increase. Read here to know more about non-communicable diseases and their differences from communicable diseases.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cause nearly three-quarters of deaths in the world.
Their drivers are social, environmental, commercial, and genetic, and their presence is global.
Every year 17 million people under the age of 70 die of NCDs, and 86% of them live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released its report “Invisible Numbers – The True Extent of Non-communicable Diseases and What to Do About Them”.
- The report stated that every two seconds, one person under the age of 70 dies of a non-communicable disease (NCD) with 86% of those deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
- Globally, one in three deaths – 17.9 million a year – are due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
- Two-thirds of the people with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries, but almost half of the people with hypertension are not even aware they have it, it currently affects around 1.3 billion adults aged between 30 and 79.
Statistics about the major diseases in the report:
Diabetes: One in 28 deaths, that is roughly 2.0 million people a year, is due to diabetes. More than 95% of diabetes cases globally are of type 2 diabetes.
Cancer: It causes one in six deaths (9.3 million people a year), a further 44% of cancer deaths could have been prevented or delayed by eliminating health risks.
Respiratory Disease: It indicated that 70% of deaths due to chronic respiratory diseases could have been prevented or delayed by eliminating health risks.
Covid-19 highlighted the links between NCDs and infectious diseases, with serious impacts on NCD care. In the early months of the pandemic, 75% of countries reported disruption to essential NCD services.
According to WHO, only a handful of countries were on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target to reduce early deaths from NCDs by a third by 2030.
Diseases are frequently referred to as communicable or non-communicable.
Communicable diseases comprise of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and measles, while non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are mostly chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes.
- The term “communicable diseases” refers to illnesses that can spread from one person to another via a variety of channels, including air, water, insects and other vectors, direct contact, etc.
- These are brought on by pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, worms, etc.
Non-infectious diseases are non-communicable diseases with a range of causes. Genetics, a lack of nutrition, the person’s age, sex, and other factors are some of the causes of non-infectious diseases.
There are four major NCDs:
- cardiovascular diseases (heart disease and stroke)
- chronic respiratory disease
Only 6% of countries are on track to achieve the related SDG target 3.4.
Non-Communicable Diseases hinder social and economic development and can pose significant threats to international health security, as is illustrated by the increased case fatality and health systems disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Non-communicable diseases in India
WHO reports that over 60.46 lakh persons in India passed away in 2019 as a result of NCDs.
- In the country, cardiovascular diseases caused over 25.66 lakh fatalities in 2019 whereas chronic respiratory disorders caused 11.46 lakh deaths.
- 20 lakh people died from cancer, while 3.49 lakh people in the nation died from diabetes.
Initiatives by the government:
- The National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Stroke (NPCDCS) is being implemented under the National Health Mission (NHM).
- Strengthening of Tertiary Care Cancer facilities scheme to support the setting up of State Cancer Institutes (SCI) and Tertiary Care Centres (TCCC) in different parts of the country.
- Screening of common NCDs including three common cancers i.e., oral, breast and cervical is also an integral part of service delivery under Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres.
- Treatment of cancers is also available under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY).
- Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) Deendayal outlets have been opened at 195 Institutions/Hospitals to make available Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases drugs and implants at discounted prices to the patients.
- Under the umbrella scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi, financial assistance is provided to families living below the threshold poverty line for their treatment, including treatment of cancer, in Government hospitals.
Global leadership, increased technical assistance, research and innovation, strengthening primary health care and the inclusion of NCDs into Universal Health Coverage will be crucial to reach the SDG target and achieving the 9 global voluntary NCD targets by 2025.
In 2019, the World Health Assembly extended the WHO Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs from 2013–2020 to 2030 and called for the development of an Implementation Roadmap from 2023 to 2030 to accelerate progress on preventing and controlling Non-Communicable diseases.
-Article written by Swathi Satish