GUWAHATI, Sept 13 - In view of the high incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Assam, which accounts for 51.2 per cent of the total disease burden in the state, the Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) and Lal PathLabs Foundation have launched Arogya – a community-based intervention on prevention and control of NCDs – in Kamrup (Metro) district to address the important public health issue.
The project will facilitate mass awareness and sensitisation about threats related to NCDs so that people can take preventive steps right at the initial stage. It will also facilitate screening and testing of high-risk populations so that they could be referred to the local government health facilities for early diagnosis and care. It will also aim to sensitise, educate and empower target populations about their health and wellbeing and risk factors associated with NCDs, and motivate them to adopt healthy lifestyle and food habits through behaviour change.
“The objective of the Arogya project is to support and strengthen the government initiatives and programmes for the prevention and control of NCDs in the state by sensitising communities, screening high-risk groups, and ensuring that they are referred to the government health centres for further diagnosis and treatment,” Rajesh Kumar Singh, DGM (CSR) at Lal PathLabs Foundation, told the media on Friday.
He said regular follow-ups of high-risk cases were also done besides ensuring that communities take necessary steps at the family and community levels for prevention and control of NCDs.
In Assam, the major risk factors for NCDs are malnutrition (17.4 per cent), high blood pressure (7.6 per cent), dietary risks (6.9 per cent) and tobacco (5.7 per cent). According to the recently released Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS-2) report, tobacco use prevalence in India has declined from 34.6 per cent to 28.6 per cent in eight years between 2009 and 2017 while in Assam, it has increased from 39.3 per cent to 48.2 per cent.
“VHAI which has been working in the area of public health for over five decades is committed to work in close collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure that communities are adequately sensitised about the risks of NCDs and that health promotion remains a pivotal point for long-term sustainability and impact of the efforts initiated through Project Arogya,” said VHAI chief executive Bhavna B Mukhopadhyay.
She said that while it was important to diagnose people with NCDs, at the same time a holistic plan was needed to prevent such a situation from occurring by active health promotion activities as visualised in the government’s recent initiative of Health and Wellness Centres under Ayushman Bharat.