New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) A survey highlighted that Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have a 16.19 per cent prevalence of key NCDs which is higher than the national average of 11.62 per cent.These states particularly have a higher prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) like hypertension, digestive diseases, diabetes, and neurological diseases as compared to the National Average Prevalence Rate of these diseases. This is similar to the overall national trend where hypertension, digestive disease, and diabetes emerge as the top three NCDs followed by respiratory diseases, brain disorders, heart diseases, kidney disorders, and cancer in the order of prevalence. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the apex trade association of the country, as part of its 'Illness to Wellness' campaign, on Friday unveiled Andhra Pradesh (now Andhra Pradesh and Telangana) specific findings of India's largest primary healthcare survey report on the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. This was followed by a virtual panel discussion on "Non-Communicable Diseases: The New Health Challenges for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh". The survey report titled 'Non-Communicable Diseases in India' covered 2,33,672 people and 673 public health offices in 21 states to analyse the rising cases of NCDs in the country and the social profile of suffering households. Delving on the risk factors associated with NCDs, the report highlighted that significantly higher stress levels in the region than the national average are leading to heart, diabetes, and digestive disorders in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It stated that 63 per cent of respondents in the region face high stress. The report further underlined that the region has higher physical activities, which is reflected in lower BMI. However, the likely positive impact of the same on reducing the vulnerability to obesity related NCDs is significantly reduced by other factors like choice of food including salt and chillies intake and lifestyle choices. The study also found that high workplace pollution in the region is a major contributing factor to diseases related to neurology, heart, and lung. This is mainly due to high mining, stone quarrying, and construction activities in the region. Home air pollution was also found to be significantly contributing to hypertension and neurological disorders in the region. The problem of workplace air pollution was recognised by 82 per cent of the respondents while 76 per cent accepted that they face home air pollution. The region shows lower vegetable and fruit consumption coupled with high meat consumption than the national average. As per the study findings, 90 per cent of the respondents from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana consume non-vegetarian food with 68 per cent consuming red meat. This has implications on NCDs affecting the digestive system, heart, and hypertension. Incidentally, tobacco consumption was found to be below the national average in both the states, and thus their impact on the prevalence of NCDs relating to hypertension, heart diseases, and diabetes in the state is likely to be insignificant in line with the national findings. The study observed that while the national prevalence rate of hypertension is 3.60 per cent , its prevalence in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is 8.54 per cent . This is followed by digestive diseases and diabetes that have a prevalence rate of 5.65 per cent and 4.69 per cent respectively in both the states. Digestive diseases have a national average prevalence rate of 3.05 per cent while it is 2.85 per cent for diabetes. The prevalence rate of brain disorders and kidney diseases in each of these states stands at 2.52 per cent and 0.66 per cent respectively. This is again higher than the national average prevalence rate of 1.3 per cent for brain diseases and 0.4 per cent for kidney diseases. The prevalence of heart diseases, cancer, digestive diseases, and respiratory diseases were found to be lower in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana when compared to the national average prevalence rate for these diseases. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a sharper focus on health care. Patterns emerging from Covid management across the country indicate that people with co-morbidities of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have a higher mortality rate than those who do not. This has grave implications for the country not only because of mortality and years of healthy lives lost but also because of India's health infrastructure. Dr. C. H. Vasanth Kumar, Senior Consultant Physician, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, Current President Elect, Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI), said, "NCDs are a real threat to human life as it affects everyone irrespective of age, the financial status or background. Prevention and early detection are key to arresting the rising cases of NCDs. Towards this, parents, society, and government must come together for a decisive win against the disease which is gripping the world including India." Dr K. S. Soma Sekhar Rao, Consultant Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist, Department of Medical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Apollo Health City, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad added, "Health education and forums like this can certainly go a long way in improving awareness about NCDs among the masses. An unhealthy gut is the mother of all diseases, and we must take good care of our gut from a very young age for a long and healthy life." Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control, said, "NCDs have become a major health challenge in each country of the world including India. The amount of people suffering from NCDs in our country is simply huge and a lot of lives have already been lost to these diseases. --IANS san/dpb
India offers quality medical facilities at a cheaper rate as compared to the US and other developed nations, for which scores of patients, including from Afghanistan, visit the country regularly."Afghan patients and their friends and family members contribute around Rs 1.5-2 billion to the Indian economy," said Sanjay Agrawal, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.For the Afghans, India is a cheap healthcare destination where hospitals offer quality treatment at reasonable rates. Out of the total medical tourists, around 54.3 per cent visited India from Bangladesh last year, followed by 9 per cent from Iraq, 8 per cent from Afghanistan, 6 per cent from Maldives and 4.5 per cent from African nations."Around 30,000 medical visas are issued every year for Afghan nationals. We roughly estimate that around Rs 1.5-2 billion is at stake due to the political unrest in Afghanistan," Agrawal said.The government has introduced medical visas along with e-medical visas for 166 nations as part of its policy. Yoga and ayurveda tourism are also being promoted as an alternative form treatment. While India had invested nearly $3 billion in aid to rebuild Afghanistan, the present political instability in the war-torn nation would have an adverse impact on all the welfare programmes.According to the spokesperson of Max Healthcare: "There is already a dip in the footfall of patients arriving from overseas owing to the restrictions on commercial flight movement for the past 18 months. We anticipate a further decline in the number of patients arriving from Afghanistan."The Indian Embassy there is currently not functioning and the uncertainty over scheduled commercial flights will lead to delay in patient arrivals," said the spokesperson of private hospital in Delhi where many Afghan nationals come for treatment."However, once the situation stabalises, we are hopeful that patients will be able to travel for medical assistance to India," he added.--IANS<br>avr/arm
New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) A group of 23 MPs from the Rajya Sabha met Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya seeking the ministry's immediate intervention to provide treatment to eligible patients diagnosed with Group 3 (a) rare genetic conditions, like Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs).The Parliamentary group also submitted a memorandum to Mandaviya, drawing his attention to the urgent need for prioritisation of treatment for patients diagnosed with Group 3(a) rare genetic conditions. "Despite the notification of the much-awaited National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021 in March this year, these patients continue to be at grave risk due to the lack of any sustainable funding mechanism for treatment," the MPs said."We would like to draw your immediate attention towards the need to prioritise treatment for at least the ultra-rare diseases -- treatable conditions which have an even lesser prevalence as compared to others; and for which the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved therapies are available in India," the memorandum stated, requesting the Union Minister to: (a) Extend the Umbrella Scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) to all Group 3 (a) patients with treatable conditions, and (b) Transfer the unspent funds from the previous years' budgetary allocation to provide treatment for eligible patients diagnosed with treatable conditions."Several countries, including the developing economies like Brazil, Argentina, Algeria, and Egypt, have robust reimbursement mechanisms in place (often 100 per cent) for dealing with rare diseases, or have earmarked funds out of their healthcare budgets, specifically for these purposes," the members wrote, explaining that unlike diabetes or any other common ailment, the number of rare disease patients is very small. "Without any support from the government, parents of these children are left with no option but to look on in despair, despite the availability of approved therapies in India," the statement said.Led by Fauzia Khan and her party colleague from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Vandana Chavan, the memorandum was signed by MPs from several states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Rajasthan and Gujarat, to name a few."While we welcome the Government of India's efforts to mobilise funds through crowdfunding and involving corporate India and the PSUs, this process may take some time. Through this joint representation, we would like to draw your immediate attention to the condition of close to 200-odd eligible patients -- diagnosed with Group 3(a) disorders -- whose lives are at risk owing to the long delay in providing support for treatment," they stated.--IANSmiz/dpb
Toronto, Aug 10 (IANS) Depression and anxiety symptoms have doubled in children and adolescents when compared to pre-pandemic times, according to an alarming study.Researchers at the University of Calgary conducted a meta-analysis, pooling together data from 29 separate studies from around the world, including 80,879 youth globally.The findings, published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, showed that an alarming percentage of children and adolescents are experiencing a global-wide mental crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic."Estimates show that one in four youth globally are experiencing clinically elevated depression symptoms while one in five have clinically elevated anxiety symptoms," said lead author Dr Nicole Racine, a postdoctoral associate, and clinical psychologist at the varsity. More alarmingly, these symptoms are compounding over time.The study -- which incorporates 16 studies from East Asia, four from Europe, six from North America, two from Central and South America and one from the Middle East -- also shows that older adolescents and girls are experiencing the highest levels of depression and anxiety."We know from other studies that rates of depression and anxiety in youth tend to ebb and flow with restrictions. When more restrictions are imposed, rates go up. Being socially isolated, kept away from their friends, their school routines, and social interactions has proven to be really hard on kids," said Dr Sheri Madigan, a Calgary varsity clinical psychologist.Older teens in particular have missed out on significant life events such as graduations, sporting events, and various coming of age activities."These kids didn't imagine that when they graduated, they'd never get to say goodbye to their school, their teachers or their friends, and now they're moving on to something new, with zero closure," Racine said. "There's a grieving process associated with that."While mental health symptoms in youth are rising, more mental health support should be put in place to help children and adolescents in this time of need."If we want to mitigate the sustained mental health effects of Covid-19, because of the chronic stressors our youth experienced, we have to prioritise recovery planning now. Not when the pandemic is over, but immediately. Because kids are in crisis right now," Madigan said.--IANSrvt/vd
Panaji, Aug 7 (IANS) The rising number of Covid cases in Kerala is a cause for concern, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Friday.The Chief Minister also advised the general population to adopt precautions during the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festivities, while stating that the state government would devise special SOPs for the festive season ahead after taking stakeholders into confidence."Kerala is witnessing a rise in third wave cases. We have made RTPCR compulsory for people travelling from Kerala, even as persons from other states are allowed entry with a Covid negative certificate or a double dose certificate," the Chief Minister said.Sawant also said that Goa was continuing to witness daily Covid-related deaths and said that the state and its people should not drop their guard."At present I can say only one thing, Covid is still on. Even today the positivity rate in Goa is 1.9 to two per cent. There are one to two deaths. We need to take precautions," the Chief Minister told reporters in Panaji."We have to take precautions for the upcoming festivals too. We will be issuing an SOP as a state government, after taking inputs from Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav organisers. We should celebrate festivals in such a way that large crowds do not gather," he also said.--IANSmaya/pgh
<br>Being confined to a limited space, unable to meet peers and friends, unable to indulge in sports and physical activities, pursuing education via Internet on mobile and laptop screens or sometimes being left out of classes because the facility is not available, it's a difficult world to adapt to. And while everyone gets a say, they are asked to shut up and study, they are expected to be grateful that they are not getting infected.This causes immense stress on a child, leading to fear, anxiety, sleep disturbance, mood disturbance and behavioural issues. Many children who were already vulnerable have developed panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders and anxiety and mood related disorders. The impact on self-esteem and confidence is significant. Some have witnessed higher levels of family conflicts and domestic violence. The uncertainty associated with exams, future, career has further confused high school children. Internet and gaming addiction is on the rise and psychosomatic problems are widespread.<br> <br>The problem statement is huge but it needs to be defined to take effective steps. As psychiatrists, we often see children being referred for behavioural issues but parents are reluctant due to stigma associated with the word psychiatry. But closing one's eyes doesn't make the problem go away. We, as adults, need to anticipate the problem and take preventive measures. Taking into cognizance that children are vulnerable is the first step. Talking to them about their feelings, letting them express their emotions, taking guidance and counselling to manage stress are all measures which can help in avoiding negative outcomes. We need a proper routine, a mutually supportive social environment and discipline to engage in daily activities productively. The emphasis has to be on finding a balance with new way of life, apart from Covid-appropriate behaviour to avoid infection, there needs to be a strategy to ensure balance between physical, emotional and social aspects of life. Interacting regularly with friends and families in small groups, taking time out to play, getting off the screen to enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding us, cooking and eating together, music, dance, arts and crafts are all ways to add creative interest in daily life and de-stress regularly. Those who have lost close family members and parents need professional intervention to deal with the trauma associated with sudden loss.<br> <br>With foresight and empathy, we can find a way to adapt to the post-Covid world and hopefully make it even better.(Jyoti Kapoor is Senior Psychiatrist and Founder of Manasthali)--IANS<br>jyoti/tb
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