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India State-level Disease Burden Initiative – Findings & Implications


The India State-level Disease Burden Initiative, a joint initiative between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Public Health Foundation of India & Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation in collaboration with Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, released its findings.


Below mentioned are some of the key findings

  1. Life expectancy at Birth in the country improved from 59 in 1990 to 68.5 years in 2016.
  2. Of every 1000 live children born in India in 1960, about 160 died in the first year, but now this death rate of infants is about a fourth of that level.
  3. The report shows that communicable diseases constitute almost two-thirds of the disease burden in India.
  4. Malnutrition is still the single largest risk factor responsible for 15% of the total disease burden in India in 2016.
  5. The leading individual cause of death in India in 2016 was Ischaemic heart disease aka Coronary artery disease (CAD).
  6. The Under-5 mortality rate has reduced substantially from 1990 in all states, but there was a four-fold difference in this rate between the highest in Assam and UP as compared with the lowest in Kerala in 2016.


How finding can be useful?

-> The disease profile of each state is released showing contribution of specific diseases and risk factors to overall health loss can be a useful guide to states for future policy decisions.

-> The findings highlight that focus should be on state-specific health planning instead of general one.

-> Bring in Evidence Based Policy making (EBP), which will help target better with numbers.

-> Help shun one-size fits all approach.

-> Pave way for reaping demographic dividend of India. The demographic dividend of East Asian growth model following states (Gujarat, Maharashtra) show a stark contrast to Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand. (Economic Survey)

-> It shows both overall trend and inter-state variations over a considerably large period.

-> The rise of non-communicable diseases coupled with continuing childhood and infectious diseases in poor states called for speeding up health expenditure in these states.

-> The report also calls for strengthening the local level health infrastructure and creating awareness among masses.

-> It shows the need to have region specific approach rather than only a generic national policy. For example, Under-nutrition is the largest risk we are facing. The regional diversity in its risk show that we need different approaches, especially since food habits differ vastly in India from state to state.

-> Unhealthy diet leading to several diseases is almost a national crisis and shows that policies need to synergise health sector with other sectors such as that of fast moving consumer goods.



These findings and the ongoing work of the India State-level Disease Burden Initiative could provide important inputs for the data-driven and decentralised health planning and monitoring recommended by the National Health Policy 2017 and the NITI Aayog Action Agenda 20172020.


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