Lifestyle diseases: Wake-up call for Kerala

Published: 03rd January 2013 10:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd January 2013 10:09 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala should have acted 10 years ago on its lifestyle disease prevalence, said  Principal Health Secretary Rajeev Sadanandan at the Global Healthcare Summit here on Wednesday.

Speaking on ‘Non-Communicable Disease Prevention - Kerala Perspective’, the Health Secretary said that there is a lack of political will when it comes to implementation of the non-communicable diseases programmes.

The secretary said that the mortality due to  non-communicable diseases has overtaken the combined mortality by all other causes.

“The Central Government has launched the national programme for the prevention and control of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke (NPCDCS). But despite the huge numbers, we do not see the kind of political will and mobilisation that we saw in the programmes for the prevention of HIV or TB. The thrust and political dynamism are lacking,” he said. “The issue will soon reach unmanageable levels unless sufficient interventions are put into place. Even insulin demand is already shooting up,” he said.

“Those states which have not yet reached the levels of lifestyle diseases as Kerala must waste no more time. We have already missed the wagon. But those states which are yet to see the demographic transition to the non-communicable disease must learn their lesson from Kerala.” Speaking about preventive measures, he said that apart from the interventions at the medical level a number of public health- oriented steps too needed to be put in place. For instance, there must be regulations in food packaging, community-level infrastructure and so on. Many of these regulations and changes do not come under the health department and need the cooperation of other departments.

Rajeev Sadanandan said that interventions at the school level were extremely helpful in this connection. Insisting on the physical education and the efficient utilisation of the sports periods was one such intervention which the health department was looking at. He also talked about bringing in awareness at the school level, screening sessions and similar interventions.


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