EDITORIALS Weekly EPW july 24, 2010 vol xlv no 30 9 I n popular perception, non-communicable diseases ( NCD s) like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis, are diseases of the afﬂuent nations. Developing nations have to contend with illnesses like malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, diar-rhoea and those associated with malnutrition. This is no longer true. Countries like India are now suffering what is termed a “double burden” with infectious diseases and those connected with hunger and malnutrition continuing their ruinous march while the NCD s rapidly gain ground. Heeding the changed scenario, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke ( NPCDCS ) for implementation during the remaining period of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan. The estimated outlay is Rs 1,230.90 crore. The programme will be implemented in 20,000 sub-centres and 700 community health centres ( CHC s) in 100 districts across 15 states/union territories and 32,000 health personnel will be trained at various levels to provide opportunistic and targeted screening, diagnosis and management. This is a case of better late than never. As the cabinet committee noted, NCD s account for over 42% of all deaths with considerable loss in potentially productive years (the 35-64 age group). It also admits that clinical services are not adequately equipped to provide the required level of care for these diseases in primary and secondary healthcare settings. According to a 2002 report of a joint World Health Organisation
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