Business Standard

India’s health chart


THE INDIA State-level Disease Burden Initiative recently released its first-ever report that provided a comprehens­ive and standardis­ed comparison of health loss caused by different diseases and risk factors, across geographic units, sexes, and age groups over time. A key metric for mapping this change is the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), which is the sum of the number of years of life lost due to premature death and a weighted measure of the years lived with disability due to a disease or injury.

Chart 1 maps the epidemiolo­gical transition ratio — defined as the ratio of DALYs caused by communicab­le, maternal, neonatal, and nutritiona­l diseases (CMNNDs) to those caused by non-communicab­le diseases (NCDs) and injuries — between 1990 and 2016. A ratio greater than one indicates a higher burden of CMNNDs than NCDs and injuries. As the two India maps show, this ratio has come down across the board suggesting a shift in the country’s disease patterns. In other words, while mortality due to CMNNDs has declined substantia­lly, and Indians are living longer, yet the overall disease burden due to NCDs and injuries has been rising. Chart 2 shows the aggregate data in this regard.

Chart 3 shows the change in the top 5 diseases, in terms of DALYs, in 1990 and 2016. This chart, too, shows a massive shift. For instance, measles, which was ranked 5 in 1990, was ranked 59th in 2016. Chart 4 shows the top 5 risk factors facing Indians. While air pollution has moved up, metabolic risks, e.g. high blood pressure, have rapidly jumped up the ladder.


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