Indians add a decade more to their longevity
But report on disease burden maps severe inequalities among States, shows south India fares better
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.