India needs to prioritize prevention and wellness to check NCDs

New Delhi [India], Apr 7 : On the eve of the World Health Day, apex healthcare industry body NATHEALTH has made a clarion call to prioritize prevention and wellness to check growing burden of non-communicable disease (NCD) in the country.

Mental illnesses along with diabetes and heart diseases are estimated to cost USD 6 trillion loss to our economy by 2030.

"An onslaught of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has resulted in a dual disease burden even as the country continues to struggle to combat communicable diseases (CDs).

Focus on prevention and wellness is limited, reflecting a highly unorganized primary-care system and a long-standing curative bias among patients and caregivers.

Compounding the situation is an inadequate delivery infrastructure, talent shortage and limited funding from public and private sources," said Secretary General NATHEALTH, Anjan Bose.

He further said that this year the theme for World Health Day is mental illness which has emerged as one of the leading lifestyle diseases and healthcare service providers need to gear up to deal with this growing challenge effectively and the best way would be more focus on prevention and wellness.

According to NATHEALTH, healthcare in India is at crossroads and as a nation, India has made noteworthy progress in several macro-health parameters.

"Despite evolution on multiple fronts, however, India still struggles with substantial issues and gaps in its healthcare system.

Out-of-pocket spending is still considerably high. The strong bias towards curative care reflects a culture in which prevention and wellness receive only limited focus," added Bose.

Increasing urbanization has led to an explosion of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and India now carries a dual burden of communicable diseases (CDs) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

This is a unique challenge and the wisest way to fight this dual battle is for the Private Sector to complement and supplement the Government's efforts and NATHEALTH would continue to play the role of providing an enabling platform for collaboration between the Government and the Private Sector as our Union Health Secretary CK Mishra rightly advised in a recent message to NATHEALTH as well as during the live TV debate during NATHEALTH's 4th Annual Event NATEv2017 in New Delhi recently.

"We urgently need to prioritize and perform key actions to facilitate the paradigm shift. Large-scale programmes for prevention and increased awareness on the part of individuals are needed to reduce risk factors.

A payer shift towards prevention is needed, with outpatient services covered by insurance and with rewards for behaviors that prioritize prevention and wellness," said Bose.

Adding to this he said that at NATHEALTH there are fully aligned with the Government's 'Preventive and promotive focus with pluralistic choice' in the recently announced National Health Policy 2017.

Creation of Public Health Management Cadre in all States to optimize health outcomes and tracking behaviour change, education and counseling at all levels are some of the focus areas that we welcome from NATHEALTH.

"We would be delighted to explore possibilities of working together with the esteemed Government and look at opportunities for PPP which would contribute to the much-needed cause of reducing the impact of NCD's in various critical areas including mental illness," added Bose.

Source: ANI