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Health Update: Is India Becoming a Disease Factory?

October 25 2016
Rising case of Lifestyle Diseases

The rising case of lifestyle diseases is a cause for concern

Indian Health Rating

Indian economy is booming and the growth is notably a world event. However, the one aspect the nation is lagging in is health as shown by statistics below:

  • According to a global health study conducted by Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), India ranked 143 of 188, which is lower than Ghana.
  • The study was based on criteria such as health challenges, mortality rates, hygiene, malaria and air pollution. India scored lower than countries like Syria, Botswana and Sri Lanka due to its poor performance in hygiene and air pollution.

    Hygiene has not been a strong suit of India, the study gave India only eight points for hygiene and 10 points for malaria indicators, both of which are low line scores.

  • Another report by World Health Organisation states that India accounts for 75% of air pollution-related death in the South East Asian belt. 9 out of 10 people in the world today breath low-quality air.
  • With such high levels of pollution, it is not surprising the risk of lifestyle diseases is also increasing. Heart attack, obesity, anxiety, high cholesterol, diabetes are not uncommon. Much of urban populace suffers from one or more of them.

Sedentary Lifestyle Heightens Risk of Diseases

Global research suggests that sitting for longer hours increases various health risks, which are leading contributors to the heart attack. American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a new study conducted across 54 countries, it states that 4% of worldwide deaths occur due to sitting for more than 3 hours a day. This is worrying as most workplaces in the nation require people to sit at their desks for a majority of their working hours.

These grave statistics call for strong action and aggressive cooperation from the national and local government, communities, health experts and corporations. A need for holistic approach to dealing with such dire health risks cannot be understated. An active workplace culture can help reigning the increase of such lifestyle diseases. Wellness and Health Programs by various corporates and insurers is one step in this direction.

Learning from Counterparts

Staunch public awareness campaigns need to be conducted for Dengue and Malaria, to battle the spread of infection. In Delhi alone over 3000 cases were reported, the outbreak estimated claiming over 20 lives. India can take a leaf from the eradication measures by Vietnam and Cambodia, which was tormented with the disease.

Vietnam collaborated with scientists and health workers to control, create clean-up campaigns thus eliminating the dengue vector in the region. Cambodia too made efficient use of insecticide treatment technology specifically developed for bed nets in malaria prevention and control. It utilised a strong network of national and local leaders to reduce the prevalence of dengue vector in the area.

The Indian government with a progressive multi-pronged approach built on community participation, nationwide aggressive campaigns can eradicate onset of such diseases. The scientific knowledge and participation of expert stakeholders is the key to India’s rising health concerns. Unless we take an aggressive step towards hygiene and health, rankings are bound to stagnate.

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