Conrad Sangma Urges Doctors for Collective Approach to Healthcare in Meghalaya

With the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in the north-east region and Meghalaya (Global Burden of Disease 2016), the Public Health Foundation of with the support of Ministry of DONER organized specialized training programs for primary care physicians/medical officers for the management of hypertension and diabetes. The convocation of over 40 primary care physicians was organized and the doctors were felicitated by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, Alexander L. Hek, Health Minister, Government of Meghalaya, Dr Daljit Singh Sethi, Regional Faculty, PHFI, Shillong and President Meghalaya Diabetes Association, Dr Sandeep Bhalla, Program Director, Training, PHFI. Over 60 doctors, bureaucrats, policymakers and distinguished citizens from Meghalaya were present on the occasion.

According to the Global Burden of Disease 2016, the contribution of most of the non-communicable disease groups to the total disease burden has increased all over India since 1990, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases. Among the leading non-communicable diseases, the largest disease burden was observed for diabetes, at 80 percent and ischemic heart disease at 34 percent. In 2016, three of the five leading individual causes of disease burden in India were non-communicable, with ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as the top two causes and stroke as the fifth leading cause. NPCDCS data and various studies in North and NE-region showed the prevalence of diabetes around 10 percent associated with behavior practices, particularly high calorie diet intake with edible oil, rice, and fish. As per the DLHS-4, 6 percent of men and 5 percent of women age 18 and above in Meghalaya suffer from diabetes. Another 10 percent of men and 8 percent of women age 18 and above in Meghalaya are pre-diabetic.

For hypertension, 14 percent of men and 10 percent of women age 18 years and above in Meghalaya are in the stage of prehypertension, while 22 percent men and 18 percent of women age 18 years and above are in the stage of hypertension and require medical attention on a priority basis. The increasing socioeconomic strata and decreasing physical activity were significantly associated with NCD in NE-region. Dr Daljit Singh Sethi, Regional Faculty PHFI – Shillong and President Meghalaya Diabetes Association said, “India in general and Meghalaya, in particular, is witnessing a huge burden of NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases etc. There is an urgent need to screen, diagnose and provide appropriate care to people with NCDs. Capacity building of primary care physicians (PCPs) can be an effective short-term intervention to tackle the rising burden of disease. Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) has been implementing various capacity building initiatives for the training of PCPs/Medical Officers for the management of chronic conditions across the country and in Meghalaya as well.” He added, “As a faculty for these initiatives, I am thankful to PHFI and its academic partners for designing and delivering such initiatives. I would also like to thank Ministry of Development of North East Region (MDONER) and NHM, Govt. of Meghalaya for supporting these initiatives for the training of Medical Officers working at PHCs, CHCs and DHs in the management of hypertension and gestational diabetes.”

Dr Prabhakaran, Vice President, Research and Policy, PHFI said, “A multicentric approach needs to be undertaken to reduce the burden of NCDs in India. Due to the shortage of specialists to tackle the rising burden of NCDs, there is a dire need to train Primary Care Physicians in the management of NCDs. PHFI has been implementing various capacity building initiatives for PCPs/MOs across the country and creating skilled manpower to address the increasing burden of NCDs. This can be complemented by optimizing lifestyles and behaviors associated with optimal levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, and body weight while ensuring measures to reduce the incidence of tobacco use, increasing physical activity and other appropriate measures.” Dr Sandeep Bhalla, Director, Training Programs said, “We are grateful to the immense support provided by the Ministry of DONER to implement these specialized training programs in Meghalaya. The programs have been designed by an expert panel and the content has been customized so that the latest information in the field of chronic conditions can be imparted to primary care physicians who play a critical role in the health system. We hope to augment our partnership with the government and associations like the Meghalaya Diabetes Association to build stronger and informed health systems at the community level. We are looking forward to expanding these initiatives in Meghalaya with the support from Govt. of Meghalaya. – Business Standard

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