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Focus on control of diabetes in young, says Dr Jitendra Singh

Expressing concern over the increasing incidence of diabetes among the young population, Minister of State (Independent Charge) in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Jitendra Singh has called for focus on controlling the disease and said that this was not only a health priority but also a national priority considering the invaluable potential of the youth energy in the making of “New India”. 

Addressing a National Consultation on “Optimising the Skills of Health Workers To Tackle NCDs in India’’, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the disease spectrum in India, over the last few decades, had shifted from Communicable to Non-Communicable Diseases as a result of which, Type 2 Diabetes mellitus, heart disease and cancer had occupied the centre stage. This has, at the same time, also resulted in huge social and economic burden on society which has more than 65% of population below the age of 45 and, therefore, cannot afford any drainage or wastage of valuable youth potential. 

Dr Jitendra Singh cautioned that more than the rapidly spreading epidemic of Diabetes, the more serious concern is upsurge of Diabetes in younger age groups and among hitherto lesser affected sections of the society and lesser affected parts of the country including rural areas and village folk. This, he said, is also, to a great extent, because of the breakdown of the rural-urban divide resulting in unhealthy lifestyle changes across all sections of society. 

Making a strong plea for engaging in public-private partnership (PPP) modules, Dr Singh said the government agencies, social scientists and health professionals will have to work in tandem to devise strategies for control and prevention of Diabetes before it appears. 

Underlining the Central Government’s concern and priority for health issues, Dr Singh referred to the recent decision of the Government to streamline and control the prices of cardiac stents used for heart patients. He also referred to the Government’s move for use of generic medicines and to introduce a comprehensive health policy under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Considering the topography of some of the far-flung and inaccessible areas of the country, Dr Singh said, he had also proposed the idea of having “Air-Clinic” set up inside a helicopter with a specialist and requisite equipment as well as paramedics which could be used as an OPD at more than one places on a single day. 

The Consultation, organized by Project Hope, drew experts from the government, corporate, senior endocrinologists ad diabetologists, civil society, academia and international donor agencies, was aimed at providing a platform for presenting and discussing the most recent innovations, promising practices, trends, challenges and solutions adopted to improve the skills of health workers in the field of NCDs.

According to Dr Laxmikant Palo, Regional Director for Project Hope South-East Asia, the quality of NCDs related health outcomes was inextricably dependent on the availability of skilled, motivated and well-supported health workforce and adequate health infrastructure. The public and private sectors need to invest more for continuous improvement of the skills of health workforce to effectively respond to the growing burden of NCDs in India, he added.

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