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புதன், பிப்ரவரி 23, 2011

Non-communicable diseases may acquire epidemic proportions: Arun Chockalingam


— Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

Arun Chockalingam, Director, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Washington, speaking at Annamalai University in Chidambaram on Tuesday. Vice-Chancellor M.Ramanathan is in the picture.


CUDDALORE: 

         Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular ailments, diabetes and cancer have threatened to acquire epidemic proportions in India, thus posing serious economic implications. To control and prevent the trend, India needs to invest at least $237 billion over a 10-year period, according to Arun Chockalingam, Director, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Washington.

           He was delivering the keynote address at an international symposium on ‘Cardiovascular disease prevention' held under the aegis of the Faculties of Medicine and Marine Sciences of Annamalai University at Chidambaram on Tuesday. Mr. Chockalingam said that according to the World Health Organization, of the total number of deaths occurring in the world 30 per cent was due to communicable diseases, 61 per cent to non-communicable diseases and nine per cent to injuries. India lost 35 million people to non-communicable diseases in 2005.

          While the communicable diseases had been showing a declining trend from 36.2 per cent in 2005 to 21 per cent in 2030, the incidence of cardiovascular disease for the corresponding period would be on the ascendancy from 29 per cent to 36 per cent, and cancer from 16 per cent to 20 per cent. Mr. Chockalingam noted that cardiovascular disease also had grave implications on the economic front as it might bright down the growth by 4 to 7 per cent. Its impact on the households was that 72.9 per cent of the income was being spent on health care, while 82 per cent go without health insurance and 13 per cent discontinue treatment for want of resources.

           Urbanisation accompanied by less physical activity and unhealthy dietary habit and rise in income level prompting the individuals to indulge in food, he said. Mr. Chockalingam called for suitable policies to reduce tobacco and salt consumption, to improve clinical intervention and to increase fruit and vegetable production through incentives. This would mean a paradigm shift in the focus from “medicine” to “public health” to “sustainable development,” he added.

          Yukio Yamori of Women's University, Hyogo, Japan, highlighted the beneficial impact of seafood or marine nutrients, rich in taurine and magnesium, on those suffering from hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Vice-Chancellor M.Ramanathan said that when the high-tech health care system in India was attracting patients from abroad, 40 per cent of the country's population remaining below the poverty line was facing slow death for want of proper access to health care. Therefore, he called for multi-disciplinary approach mainly focusing attention on preventive measures.

          B.Palaniappan, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, said that nanotechnology that could deliver the medicine at the right spot and in accurate measures, self-correction as in autonomic computing and stem cell technique could be explored to make a qualitative improvement in health condition of the people at large. T.Balasubramanian, Dean, Faculty of Marine Sciences, dwelt on the beneficial aspects of seafood on patients with cardiovascular diseases. N.Chidambaram, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, gave introductory remarks.

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