Accelerating policy response to curb non-communicable diseases
An imperative to mitigate the dual public health crises of non-communicable diseases and COVID-19 in India
Shrivastav, R., Rawal, T., Kataria, I., Mehrotra, R., Bassi, S., & Arora, M. (2023). Accelerating policy response to curb non-communicable diseases: An imperative to mitigate the dual public health crises of non-communicable diseases and COVID-19 in India. The Lancet Regional Health - Southeast Asia, 10, Article 100132. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lansea.2022.100132
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are a threat to public health and sustainable development. NCDs were equated to being a 'pandemic' before COVID-19 originated. Globally, NCDs caused approximately 74% of deaths (2019). India accounted for nearly 14·5% of these deaths. NCDs and COVID-19 have a lethal bi-directional relationship with both exacerbating each other's impact. Health systems and populations, particularly in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) like India have among the highest burden of COVID-19. This narrative review tracks key policy and programmatic developments on NCD prevention and control in India, with a focus on commercially-driven risk factors (tobacco and alcohol use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and air pollution), and the corresponding NCD targets. It identifies lacunae and recommends urgent policy-focussed multi-dimensional action, to ameliorate the dual impact of NCDs and COVID-19. India's comprehensive response to NCDs can steer national, regional and global progress towards time-bound NCD targets and NCD-related Sustainable Development Goals.