Non-communicable diseases threaten health of India’s population

As India makes development progress, it also faces a growing threat from non-communicable diseases (NCDs)—cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, and mental health conditions. These NCDs—which many people don’t even realize they have—add to India’s already substantial health burden from infectious diseases and injuries. The NCDs are costly in terms of both human suffering and economics. A study by David Bloom and Elizabeth Cafiero, both of Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), in conjunction with the World Economic Forum, indicates that these diseases will cost India 126 trillion rupees (roughly 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars) from now through 2030—an amount that is 1.5 times India’s annual aggregate income and almost 35 times India’s total annual health spending.

“Through a judicious blend of technological innovation to generate new knowledge, institutional innovation to promote the efficiency and equity of health provision and public finance, and increased funding to close knowledge-action gaps, India will be able to ameliorate the human and economic fury of NCDs,” wrote Bloom, Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography, and Cafiero, research analyst in the Department of Global Health and Population, in a November 7, 2012 World Economic Forum blog. “One thing is clear: when it comes to NCDs, inaction is not an option.”

Read the World Economic Forum blog

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New Report Pegs Economic Toll of Noncommunicable Diseases at $47 Trillion Over Next Two Decades (HSPH feature)

Costly Noncommunicable Diseases on Rise in Developing World (HSPH news)