India must substantially increase the rate of effective prevention and control of chronic diseases, according to the third article of the Lancet series on ‘India: Towards Universal Health Coverage.’
This is imperative for India which has passed the early stage of the chronic disease burden, the article noted. The authors have also called for the integration of national programmes for various chronic diseases and injuries with one another.
With direct relevance to control and prevention, the team recommended implementation of interventions for tobacco control, reduction of dietary salt intake, promotion of healthy diets and physical activity, the use of a combination of aspirin and low-dose drugs to lower blood pressure and cholesterol in individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Specific interventions to change individual behaviour are also important especially for those who already have chronic diseases.
The article, authored by Vikram Patel of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, et al, begins with the fact that chronic diseases — cardiovascular diseases, mental health disorders, diabetes, and cancer — and injuries are the leading causes for death and disability in India. The projected increases in their contribution to the burden of diseases during the next 25 years are pronounced.