Saturday, August 26, 2017

NCDs in India – The problem & the mandate to act

Healthy India Alliance In India, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) account for a staggering 60% of all deaths. The country stands to lose $4.58 trillion before 2030 due to NCDs and mental health conditions. Cardiovascular diseases, accounting for $2.17 trillion and mental health conditions ($1.03 trillion) will contribute to major economic losses. The mounting social and economic costs of NCDs warrant immediate action to mitigate its long term effects.

NCDs in India – The problem & the mandate to act

In wake of growing evidence on the impact of NCDs on India’s economy and social fabric, Health Ministers in India have time and again echoed views of health experts on the need for a comprehensive model for NCDs and mass awareness campaigns. Following the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, 2013-2020, India became the first country to adopt a set of 10 National targets as part of India’s National Action Plan (link is external) to reduce premature NCD mortality by 25% by 2025. In addition to the set of 9 global targets under WHO Global Monitoring Framework for NCDs, India stepped up to adopt a tenth target of reducing household air pollution (link is external) by 50% by 2025.

A diverse but unified civil society will strengthen the response to NCDs

In 2015, a consultation of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from the South-East Asian Region was organized by NCD Alliance and the WHO South-East Asia Regional Office to advance NCD prevention and control in the Region.  The meeting of CSOs from diverse sectors led to the formation of the Healthy India Alliance, with the aim to facilitate active participation of health and non-health CSOs in the prevention and control of NCDs through effective policies, partnerships and programmes. The Alliance, set up by a group of reputed, pan-India organisations committed to NCD prevention and control, now includes 16 CSO members working on a range of aspects related to NCDs and their risk factors, including advocacy, multi-pronged research, policy reviews and health promotion programmes and campaigns. The involvement of well-established and reputed organisations on a common platform like the Healthy India Alliance will make the civil society voice stronger and add credibility to NCD related campaigns in India.

Building momentum: Early Days, Strong Commitment, watch this space

The First National Civil Society Consultation on NCDs in India was organised by the Healthy India Alliance with support from the WHO Country Office for India, NCD Alliance and American Cancer Society from 25th to 27thApril 2016. Over 80 CSOs from all over the country participated in the two and a half day Consultation and committed to join efforts to achieve India’s NCD targets.

Speaking at the inaugural of the consultation, Prof. K.S. Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India and Governing Board member of the new Alliance said,

“The role of the Healthy India Alliance is to catalyse NCD prevention in the country by providing a platform for health and non-health organisations to partner for collaborative civil society action on NCDs under the Sustainable Development Goals.”
He added that: 

“It is an historic moment for the country that the Healthy India Alliance is instrumental at an early stage of the SDGs.”

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