ICMR research: Heart ailments behind most urban deaths

New Delhi There were 9.7 million deaths in India in 2017, with heart disease leading to the most disease and deaths in urban areas, and perinatal conditions followed by heart disease causing the most deaths in rural areas, according to new national disease burden estimate by researchers from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the University of Toronto.
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Updated on Nov 09, 2019 06:17 PM IST
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New Delhi There were 9.7 million deaths in India in 2017, with heart disease leading to the most disease and deaths in urban areas, and perinatal conditions followed by heart disease causing the most deaths in rural areas, according to new national disease burden estimate by researchers from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the University of Toronto. The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, shows that close to a fifth of the world’s 56 million deaths occur in India.

Newborn and nutritional conditions, chronic respiratory diseases, diarrhoea, and fever of unknown origin were at least twice as high in rural areas as compared to urban areas. Infectious diseases, maternal disorders, newborn deaths and nutritional deficiencies accounted for 36% of India’s total burden of disease.

Infectious diseases, maternal disorders, newborn deaths and nutritional deficiencies accounted for 36% of India’s total burden of disease. Cancer, newborn deaths, diarrhoea, road traffic injuries, tuberculosis, and respiratory infections led to more deaths than disability, while psychiatric and neurological problems, nutritional deficiencies, vision and other sensory loss, and musculoskeletal disorders resulted in most disability. Injuries accounted for 11·4% of the disease burden.

The study has used open-source data from the 2017 UN death data and data national and subnational death rates and causes for death from the Indian Million Death Study for 2010–14. “This method is ‘Made in India’, as PM Modi likes to say! It offers a simple way to track health burdens using direct data and not modelled guesses. So India has very much come up with the GPS for global health,” said study author Professor Prabhat Jha, endowed professor in global health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and the lead investigator of the Indian Million Death Study.

Independent researchers say the study findings are limited because it uses a single data source from India. “This study does not utilize the substantial morbidity data available from a large number of studies in India on a variety of diseases, but instead applies the same national estimate of disability-to-death ratios to all states to arrive at the overall disease burden for 45 causes,” said Professor Lalit Dandona, director of the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative, which is an ICMR-led study in collaboration with 100 institutions in India with the Global Burden of Disease Study to map major risk factors and death and disease data for about 300 causes.

“In contrast, the India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative uses thousands of data sources available from India that include the Sample Registration System (SRS) cause-of-death data used in this (new) study, and is driven by inputs from leading scientists and domain experts from the country. India needs comprehensive and scientifically sound sub-national estimates of diseases and risk factors to inform decision making that would help reduce health inequalities between different parts of India,” he said.

According to the new study, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the north-eastern region, account for 52% of tuberculosis and 41% of respiratory infections burden.

North-eastern states, Bihar, Karnataka and Maharashtra accounted for 18% of liver and alcohol-related diseases in the country. Suicide rates were highest in the southern states.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sanchita is the health & science editor of the Hindustan Times. She has been reporting and writing on public health policy, health and nutrition for close to two decades. She is an International Reporting Project fellow from Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and was part of the expert group that drafted the Press Council of India’s media guidelines on health reporting, including reporting on people living with HIV.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022