Experts favour public-private partnership to curb NCDs

New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) Terming non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as “silent killers” which are rising gradually and affecting the country’s productivity, experts from the field said Friday that an effective public-private partnership can tackle the problem.

“NCDs are silent killers and have become a global health emergency. Eight out of 10 Indians are suffering from NCDs in urban areas and six out of 10 in rural areas,” Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Abu Hasem Khan Choudhary said.

The minister was speaking at the two-day ‘National NCD Summit-Strengthening Policies for Diabetes Care’ which began here Friday. The summit aims to strengthen the ongoing efforts of the government in managing the increasing burden of NCDs.

“The government can provide funds but private companies too have to play an active role in helping curb the rising number of NCD patients in the country,” said Jagdish Prasad, director of the ministry’s general health services.

“Apart from making medicines for such patients, the corporates should spend 10 percent of their income on educating people on how to prevent themselves,” he added.

NCDs are not only a health problem but a development problem as well because they affect the productive years of a rising number of population in the age group of 36 to 50 years, said Prasad.

Member of planning commission Sayeeda Hamid said that multi-sectoral collaborative efforts are needed to address present and future challenges posed by NCDs like diabetes.

“With the increasing prevalence of such diseases, the governmental delivery systems alone will not be able to combat increasing threat of NCDs in the country,” Hameed said.

The plan for the health sector in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) cannot be an isolated one and it needs to be integrated with the plans of all sectors, she added.

Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju expressed the need to have an intermediate level of public healthcare workers in addition to the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs).

He said that there should be specific models of public-private partnerships evolved with clear identification of roles and responsibilities.

The NCD summit is being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, health and family welfare ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Currently, more than 61 million people in India have diabetes, compared with 50.8 million last year — an increase of over 12 percent. By 2030, more than 100 million people in India will likely develop the disease.

In addition, the International Diabetes Federation estimates that 9.2 percent of adults in India have diabetes, making its prevalence second only to China. In 2012, diabetes caused 983,000 deaths in India, the largest contributor of mortality.

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