India: Rising Deaths Due to NCDs
A new research report has stated Non Communicable Disease (NCD) deaths have increased from 37.9% in 1990 to 61.8% in 2016.
The report wisas titled “India: Health of the Nations State” and published by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Alcohol and tobacco use are among the main risk factors of NCDs along with physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.
Several interventions currently underway in India to tackle NCDs are:
- National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDS)
- Population based screening of common NCDs
- Strengthening of Tertiary Care Cancer facilities scheme
However, alcohol harm needs to be addressed more thoroughly throughout the country as it is a major risk factor for NCDs and the most used substance in the country.
Alcohol harm in India
The WHO reports total per capita consumption of alcohol in india at 5.7 liters which is above the WHO South-East Asia region. Concerning is that consumption has increased from 2010 to 2016.
In India alcohol causes:
- 140,000+ liver cirrhosis deaths
- 92,000+ road traffic injury deaths
- 30,000+ cancer deaths
- 9.1% Indian men suffer alcohol use disorders with 7% being dependent on the substance, both statistics above the average of the region.
- Over half the alcohol using youth between 15 to 19 years binge on the substance.
- India is placed on the high end for years of life lost due to alcohol.
Various other scientific reports have found the alcohol harm in India to be staggering. With one study reporting the economic loss of alcohol as over the entire health expenditure in India.
A report by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE), Government of India also recently outlined the magnitude of alcohol problems in India. According to the report, even children below 17 years are found to use alcohol and only about 1 in 38 people with alcohol dependence, report getting any treatment or help with alcohol problems in India.
It is no question that India needs a comprehensive national alcohol control policy to curb the alcohol harm which includes spreading of NCDs. Public Heath advocates have already called for such policy action.