Poor Dietary Habits, Air Pollution, and Lack of Inappropriate Treatment-Seeking Behaviour Leading to High Prevalence of NCDs in Odisha: ASSOCHAM Report

Bhubaneswar :The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the apex trade association of the country, as part of its ‘Illness to Wellness’ campaign, today unveiled Odisha specific findings of India’s largest primary healthcare survey report on the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in the country. The report was produced by Delhi-based think tank, Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI). This was followed by a virtual panel discussion on “Non-Communicable Diseases: The New Health Challenges For Odisha.” The survey report titled “Non-Communicable Diseases in India” covered 2,33,672 people and 673 public health offices in 21 states to analyse the rising cases of NCDs in the country and the social profile of suffering households.

The survey highlighted that Odisha hasa 27.19% prevalence of key NCDs which is quite higher than the national averageof 11.63%. According to the report, thestate particularly hasa higher prevalence of digestive diseases, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and neurological disorders as compared to the National Average Prevalence Rate of these diseases. This is similar tothe overall national trend where hypertension, digestive disease, and diabetes emerge as the top three NCDs in the country.

Non-Communicable

Diseases

Risk Factors
Digestive Diseases Higher Level of Non-vegetarian Food and RedMeat Consumption, Lower Fruit Consumption, Junk Food Consumption, Exposure to Polluted Air
Hypertension Exposure to Polluted Air, High Consumption of Non-vegetarian Red Meat, Lower Fruit Consumption
Diabetes Higher Level of Non-vegetarian Food and Red Meat Consumption
Respiratory Diseases Exposure to Polluted Air
Brain Disorders Exposure to Polluted Air

Delving on the risk factors associated with NCDs, the reportobserved that people in the state have relatively higherexposure to air pollution as compared to the national average.As per the report, 83% of respondents have higher exposure to air pollution in comparison to the national average of 77%.

The report underlined that Odisha has a higher level of non-vegetarian food consumption with a higher level of aquatic and moderate level of red meat consumption. As per the study findings, 91.6% of the respondents from Odisha consume non-vegetarian food as compared to the national average of 65.6%. The study also found that milk and fruits consumption is lower while junk food consumption is marginally higher in Odisha than the national average.These factors have implications on the occurrence of NCDs like digestive diseases, hypertension, and diabetes.

The survey pointed out that 58% of people in Odisha never undertake health check-ups as compared to the national average of 47%. This results in a higher prevalence of NCDs in the state. The state also has a higher population of people with a monthly income of less than Rs. 10,000 at 68% in comparison to the national average of 56%. This results in limited capacity/ability of people to pay for medical expenses.

The survey further highlighted that 85% of people from the state incur out-of-pocket expenditure for NCD treatment in comparison to the national average of 81%. This indicates lower penetration of the government medical facilities in Odisha as compared to the national average. The survey however highlighted that the cost or expenditure on treatment of NCDs in the region is lower than the national average. This can be understood from lower household annual expenditure on treatment of NCDs in the state as compared to the national average.

Non-Communicable

Diseases

National Average Prevalence Rate State Wise Prevalence
Digestive Diseases 3.19% 15.91%
Hypertension 3.60% 9.42%
Diabetes 2.85% 3.76%
Respiratory Diseases 1.79% 3.74%
Brain Disorders 1.31% 1.75%

The report noted a higherlevel of incidence of intoxicationin the state compared to the national average due to chewing tobacco. Interestingly, despite this, alcohol and tobacco consumption did not come out as a major risk factor for any of the critical NCDs identified for the survey.

The study observed that while the national prevalence rate of digestive diseases is 3.19%, its prevalence in the state of Odishais 15.91%. This is followed by hypertension and diabetes that have a prevalence rate of 9.42% and 3.76% respectively in the state. Hypertension has a national average prevalence rate of 3.60% while it is 2.85% for diabetes. The prevalence rate of respiratory diseases and brain disorders inOdisha stands at 3.74% and 1.75% respectively. This is higher than the national average prevalence rate of 1.79% for respiratory diseases and 1.31% for brain disorders. The prevalence of some other life-threatening NCDs like cancer, kidney, and heart diseases was found to be lower in Odisha when compared to the national average prevalence rate for these diseases.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a sharper focus on health care. Patterns emerging from Covid management across the country indicate that people with comorbidities of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have a higher mortality rate than those who do not. This has grave implications for the country not only because of mortality and years of healthy lives lost but also because of India’s health infrastructure.

The panelists were unanimous in their praise for Assocham India for coming up with a comprehensive report on non-communicable diseases in the country to create awareness and sensitise the public as well as policymakers who look for such reports. They agreed that NCDs are preventable and with changes in lifestyle, dietary habits, and increase in physical activities among others its prevalence can be reduced/checked. Panelists further stressed the need to take necessary preventive actions for early detection and treatment if conditions of specific NCDs are setting in and towards this strengthen the country’s existing healthcare system to make it accessible to all.

Dr. Sushant Kumar Sethi, Senior Consultant & Head Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist Apollo Hospital, Sainik School Road, Bhubaneswar, said, “The focus of the healthcare industry has shifted from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases which caused 65% of deaths in India in 2019. NCDs affect people mostly in the age group of 25 to 60 years causing maximum productivity losses for the economy. We must do everything in our capacity to fight NCDs and make our country a dynamic nation.”

Dr. Bibekananda Panda, Senior Consultant Nephrologist Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar added, “India is witnessing high incidence of chronic kidney diseases mostly due to uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes. As kidney ailments are detected at a very last moment, we must go for routine tests for early diagnosis and avoid over-the-counter drugs for treatment.”

 

Dr. Ritesh Agrawala, Consultant Endocrinologist AMRI Hospital and Narayani Fetal Medicine Centre (NFMC), Bhubaneswar stated, “NCDs are chronic diseases which mainly happen due to changes in lifestyle, genetic and psychological factors, and stressful life. Diabetes is the most common NCD affecting over 70 million people in India. According to research reports itis growing rapidly and may cross 100 million by 2045. We must embrace a healthy lifestyle to decrease the prevalence of diabetes.”

 

Dr. S. C. Panigrahi, Associate Professor Department of Gastroenterology KIMS, Bhubaneswar commented, “NCDs are a major health challenge in today’s times, and we must do everything to address it. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and low stress among others can have a significant bearing on the occurrence of NCDs. We must embrace a healthy lifestyle to keep ourselves away from NCDs.”

 

Dr. Anupam Jena, Consultant, Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Bhubaneswar said, “As the industrial advancement goes on and the lifestyle changes, NCDs are emerging as major killers. Such diseases need life-long medication causinga huge socio-economic burden. Nutrition is an important factor for all NCDs, and we all must take special care to consume nutritious food to reduce our vulnerability to such diseases.”

 

Starting the panel discussion with a shlokaDr. Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control, New Delhi said, “All of us want to live a long and healthy life. In fact, longevity has increased in India in the post-independence era thanks to advancements in medical sciences. This is, however, changing as India and the whole world is now witnessing an epidemic of NCDs which is causing amaximum number of deaths, unlike earlier times when communicable diseases used to be the major cause of mortality. ASSOCHAM’sIllness to Wellness’ campaignis focussed on understanding these diseases and ways to prevent them in the context of Odisha.”

The ASSOCHAM webinar was addressed by Dr. Naveen Kumar Srivastav, Associate Director, Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI), New Delhi, and top doctors which included: Dr. Sushant Kumar Sethi, Senior Consultant & Head Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist Apollo Hospital, Sainik School Road Bhubaneswar; Dr. Bibekananda Panda, Senior Consultant Nephrologist Apollo Hospitals Bhubaneswar; Dr. Ritesh Agrawala, Consultant Endocrinologist AMRI Hospital and Narayani Fetal Medicine Centre (NFMC) Bhubaneswar; Dr. S. C. Panigrahi, Associate Professor Department of Gastroenterology KIMS, Bhubaneswar; and Dr. Anupam Jena, Consultant, Cardiologist, and Electrophysiologist, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Bhubaneswar. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control.