New Delhi: The health ministry is planning to spend more funds, over and above the current sanction of Rs955 crore (2017-18) for tackling lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, obesity and diabetes.

Interestingly, in 2017-18 non-communicable diseases (NCDs) received the highest increase in allocation from Rs555 crore in 2016-17 to Rs955 crore in 2017-18.

“NCDs are Union Health Ministry’s major concern and we are running special screening programs for the disease category. We may get more funds in next financial year and one of our focuses will be NCDs," said Kavita Singh, director finance, National Rural Health Mission.

While the Union health ministry is running major screening programmes for NCDs, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday launched the India Hypertension Management Initiative (IHMI). The IHMI aims to reduce disability and death related to CVD, the leading cause of death in India, by improving the control of high blood pressure (hypertension), reducing salt consumption and eliminating artificial trans-fats, leading risk factors for CVD.

The initiative, which will be rolled out in 25 high-burden districts in India, aims to strengthen the cardiovascular disease component of the government’s National Program for Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).

The centre has adopted a national action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs with specific targets to be achieved by 2025, including a 25 % reduction in overall mortality from CVD, a 25 % relative reduction in the prevalence of raised blood pressure and a 30 % reduction in salt/sodium intake. “Approximately 5 crore additional people will need to have their blood pressure effectively treated if the government is to meet its targets on hypertension and CVD mortality," said Preeti Sudan, secretary, Union health ministry.

A recent ICMR report on Health of the Nation’s States’, published this month, said every state now suffers from a higher burden of NCDs and injuries than infectious diseases and finds that the risk factors for heart attack and stroke are increasingly prevalent in every state.

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