India Falling Short in Achieving Global Targets to Reduce Premature Deaths due to Non-Communicable Diseases

India is expected to deviate from achieving the health targets set under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve by 2030 due to the increased burden of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs). It will shortly fail to hit the targets set by the WHO (World Health Organization) to cut down the premature deaths from NCDs. According to ‘India: Health of the Nation’s States’ Report 2017 by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) highlighted the fact that death share due to NCDs has increased over the years mainly because of changing lifestyle and behavioural factors such as lack of physical activities, unhealthy and processed food, etc.

The report has stated that the percentage of mortality because of NCDs has risen from 37.9% to 61.8% in around 25 years between 1990 to 2016. The major contributors to NCDs are diabetes, cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic respiratory diseases that are propelled by lifestyle factors such as alcohol, tobacco, unhealthy diet and absence of physical activity complemented with compromised training of healthcare staff at the primary healthcare level. The situation is also dependent on demographic shifts, Urbanization and poor infrastructure of healthcare unable to counter premature life losses.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare under the National Health Mission (NHM) allocates financial and technical assistance to supervise the implementation of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Stroke (NPCDCS) to the Indian States and  UTs. It works to promote health benefits and awareness regarding early diagnosis, prevention, and management of NCDs along with the timely referral to the right healthcare provider for its control to check premature deaths.

The Ayushman Bharat Health Wellness Centre scheme and several other initiatives work to promote wellness routines, raising public awareness to prevent NCDs through social/electronic/print media at the community level and promoting healthy lifestyles. India needs more initiatives like the Fit India Movement and the promotion of the health benefits of Yoga to fight against the root cause of the rising NCD burden leading to the increase in premature deaths which is pushing India behind in achieving its global health targets.