In­di­ans add a decade more to their longevity

But re­port on dis­ease bur­den maps se­vere in­equal­i­ties among States, shows south In­dia fares bet­ter

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Bindu Sha­jan Per­ap­padan

A first-of-its kind re­port on the ‘In­dia State-Level Dis­ease Bur­den,’ re­leased on Tues­day, has re­vealed se­vere in­equal­i­ties in the dis­ease bur­den in dif­fer­ent States.

For in­stance, life ex­pectancy at birth in the coun­try im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly dur­ing 1990 to 2016 — from 59.7 years and 58.3 years for fe­males and males re­spec­tively in 1990 to 70.3 years for fe­males and 66.9 years for males in 2016. But in a mea­sure of the con­tin­u­ing in­equal­i­ties, life ex­pectancy for fe­males in Ut­tar Pradesh was 66.8 years — be­low the na­tional av­er­age and 12 years less than in Ker­ala, where it was 78.7 years. Again, men in Ker­ala en­joyed a life ex­pectancy of 73.8 years, but the cor­re­spond­ing fig­ure for men in As­sam was 63.6 years.

The study found that while un­der-5 mor­tal­ity was im­prov­ing in ev­ery State, there was a four-fold dif­fer­ence in the rate of im­prove­ment among States, which again in­di­cated health in­equal­i­ties.

“The per per­son bur­den from many of the lead­ing in­fec­tious and non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases varies 5-10 times be­tween dif­fer­ent States and mal­nu­tri­tion con­tin­ues to be the sin­gle largest risk for health loss in In­dia, which is higher among fe­males and is par­tic­u­larly se­vere in the em­pow­ered ac­tion group States [Bi­har, Jhark­hand, Mad­hya Pradesh, Ch­hat­tis­garh, Odisha, Ra­jasthan, Ut­tar Pradesh and Ut­tarak­hand] and As­sam,” noted the re­port.

The re­port was pre­pared un­der the In­dia State-level Dis­ease Bur­den Ini­tia­tive, a joint project be­tween the In­dian Coun­cil of Med­i­cal Re­search (ICMR), the Pub­lic Health Foun­da­tion of In­dia (PHFI), and the In­sti­tute for Health Met­rics and Eval­u­a­tion (IHME), in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Min­istry of Health and Fam­ily Wel­fare. The re­port’s find­ings were pub­lished in the jour­nal Lancet.

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