Communicable and Non-communicable diseases – HIV, Malaria, Cancer, Mental Health, etc.

[op-ed snap] Every breath you take


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Burden of Disease Study

Mains level: National Health Policy and its relevance for Ayushman Bharat


Global burden of diseases study

  1. The National Health Policy, drawn up last year acknowledged a public health challenge in the form of NCDs
  2. It underscored the need to focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like heart ailments, diabetes and respiratory afflictions
  3. This led the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to collaborate with the Indian Council of Medical Research, Public Health Foundation of India and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation on a two-year long study that mapped NCDs across the country
  4. The results of the project are also a part of the Global Burden of Disease Study and throw light on the challenges at hand for the National Health Policy

Respiratory diseases on the rise

  1. India with 18 per cent of the world’s population bears more than 30 per cent of the global burden of respiratory diseases
  2. The study also draws attention to a little-understood disease, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) which constitutes more than 75 per cent of the country’s burden of respiratory diseases
  3. Pollution has become the major reason for stressing the lungs of people in different parts of the country

Ayushman Bharat’s focus not on respiratory diseases

  1. The much-publicised insurance component of the programme has little relevance for people who suffer respiratory diseases
  2. Very few of them require extensive hospitalisation — the precondition for availing insurance under Ayushman Bharat
  3. There is a plan for opening more than 1,50,000 primary healthcare centres
  4. But several studies have also shown that respiratory diseases like COPD evade diagnosis because doctors do not follow the protocols for treatment and most often target the symptoms — cough, cold and fever

Way Forward

  1. The challenge for Ayushman Bharat would be to equip doctors at these healthcare centres with the diagnostic acumen to tackle respiratory diseases and to make sure that drugs are available at all public dispensaries
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