The Union Health Ministry launched an ambitious initiative of screening and putting 75 million people with hypertension and diabetes on Standard Care by 2025, to mark the World Hypertension Day, here today. This was announced at the G20 co-branded event “Accelerating the Prevention and Management of Hypertension and Diabetes”, organized by Union Health Ministry and WHO by Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog in the presence of Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary and S Gopalakrishnan, Special Secretary, Health Ministry. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO and Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Director, WHO SEARO virtually addressed the event.
Highlighting the innovative scheme, Dr Paul stated that this will be the largest expansion of NCDs in primary health care programme in the world with a community based approach starting at the primary healthcare level. This indicates clear resolve of the Govt to address NCDs by allocating resources, capacity enhancement, mobilization and multi-sectoral collaboration, he said. “Under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister, India is determined to become a developed nation in the next 25 years in the Amrit Kaal. Towards this goal, India is making efforts to achieve results in social indicators like life expectancy, maternal mortality rate, NCDs at par with developed nations”, he stressed. The Outcome Budget document of Union Budget 2023-2024 has for the first time introduced hypertension and diabetes treatment as output indicators reflecting reflects the government’s commitment to scale-up hypertension and diabetes coverage services.
Dr Paul mentioned that the battle against NCDs have to be fought through the primary healthcare level and pointed out that India has created a platform to fight the menace through the creation of more than 1.5 lakh HWCs and operationalization of telemedicine and digital health services.
To accelerate the prevention and management of Hypertension, Dr V K Paul urged State teams to adhere to all SOPs especially the screening SOPs correctly at the grassroots since screening is the bedrock of successful management of any disease. However, he noted that only screening is not enough. Detection should lead to outcomes. He therefore urged all stakeholders to ensure that at least 80% of the diagnosed people are under treatment. The need for private sector engagement in this effort and the contribution of academic and research sector in creating models and different building blocks for achieving the ambitious targets were also emphasized.
Dr Paul also emphasized that greater effort should be put in prevention which includes lifestyle changes through eating good food, exercising and other wellness practices. He highlighted the need for a Jan Andolan to make this effort more visible through community participation; and on the need for countries to work together and share each other’s successes in the spirit of “One Earth, One Health”.
Congratulating India on this stupendous initiative, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the “Indian Government’s ambitious target of reaching 75 million people with Hypertension under standard care in primary healthcare by 2025 is the largest cover of NCDs in the world for primary healthcare”.
In her virtual address, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh also congratulated the Govt of India for launching ambitious healthcare initiatives. She applauded India’s commitment to primary healthcare and highlighted the operationalization of more than 1.5 lakh Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres as a significant achievement. She also urged countries in the Southeast Asia region to create a new and effective regional roadmap to accelerate NCD control.
Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan highlighted the interplay between economy, societal forces and epidemiological forces. He stated that with over 7% economic growth in the last two decades, the average life expectancy of people in India has risen significantly to around 70 today. Lifestyle of a large section of population has become more sedentary than before. The Union Health Secretary noted that the solution to the problem of NCDs lies in a societal approach where awareness, prevention, health promotion and wellness are looked at in an integrated manner. He also stressed “on the need for inter-sectoral efforts and collaboration of public and private sectors to address the growing burden of NCDs in the country”.
In addition to the 75/25 initiative, the Shashakt Portal was launched for training of 40,000 Primary Health Care Medical Officers on Standard Treatment Workflow for NCDs initiated to realize health care services closer to the community. The Revised operational guidelines of National Programme for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD) were also released with the aim of much wider coverage. The programme is now providing services for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma, Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Diseases NAFLD), ST Elevation of Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) apart from Hypertension, Diabetes and three common Cancers including Oral, Breast and Cervical.
Vishal Chauhan, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, Dr Roderico H. Ofrin Offrin, WHO Representative to India, G-20 representatives, participants from WHO-SEARO countries, international partners working on hypertension and diabetes from WHO, UN and other organizations, senior state officials from states, national NCD partners and senior officials from the Union Govt were present in the event.