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COVID-19 and non-communicable diseases
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  • Published on:
    Non-communicable diseases at the time of COVID-19 pandemic
    • Manas P Roy, Public Health Specialist Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi

    The communication from Pal and colleagues is timely. (1) However, a few more points might have been included.
    At present, Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for 55.4% Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) in India. (2) The major risk factors for NCDs are tobacco, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet. Therefore, the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) focuses on the prevention of risk factors and awareness generation. (3)
    As the ongoing pandemic of Coronavirus disease (COVID 19) is ravaging most of the countries, India has imposed a lockdown for 21 days since 25 March 2020, in an attempt to avoid the catastrophe. While it is being considered as a masterstroke for putting the spread of the epidemic on hold, it would also restrict access to tobacco or alcohol for many, in favor of NCD prevention. However, some routine activities like physical activity would need to be re-planned for this duration, as parks and gyms are not accessible. As public transport is being operated at the minimal frequency, many patients of NCD might find it difficult to reach the nearest hospital for collecting their medicines. For NCD patients purchasing medicines (out-of-pocket expenditure) from a pharmacy, access to medicine may be restricted. Migrants working as daily wager may be the worst hit as the possibility of being laid off looms large, even if the government is asking the...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.