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Over 64 lakh women above 18 yrs in state counselled against tobacco, drug addiction

The maximum number of women being counselled were in Pune (11.8 lakh), and then Nashik (10 lakh).

The maximum number of women being counselled were in Pune (11.8 lakh), and then Nashik (10 lakh).

Over 64 lakh women above 18 years from eight districts in Maharashtra have been counselled against tobacco, drug and alcohol addiction in the last two months. There has been a “strong link” between alcohol abuse and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — particularly cancer, cardiovascular diseases, liver diseases, pancreatitis and diabetes.

Around 1.56 crore women have been screened under the ongoing statewide medical checkup of adult women — ‘Mata Surakshit Tar Ghar Surakshi‘ — which started in September this year. Out of this, 64,55,475 women from eight districts —Thane, Pune, Nashik, Kolhapur, Beed, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Latur — were counselled on tobacco, drug and alcohol addiction which leads to diseases like cardiovascular issues, hypertension and diabetes.

The maximum number of women being counselled were in Pune (11.8 lakh), and then Nashik (10 lakh).

“This includes women with addiction issues who suffer from high blood pressure and hypertension. We counselled them on how such habits could lead to NCDs, including cancer and cardiovascular issues, in the long run… The programme is a part of preventive measures against NCDs,” said Dr Padmaja Jogewar, Joint Director (NCD Cell), Directorate of Health Services.

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As smoking remains a strong factor in the emergence of NCDs across India, the World Health Organization (WHO) identified the prevention of tobacco and alcohol consumption as key strategies to curb or stop NCDs and fatalities. “It is important to counsel women, especially the younger ones, about the adverse effects of such consumption… before they get addicted or grow such habits,” Jogewar added. Maharashtra has also counselled around 7 lakh women on several key topics including domestic violence, stress and mental health issues. “We usually approach women who visit our out-patient department (OPD), identifying if they require counselling. Many are hesitant due to the stigma attached to it, but they open up upon insisting,” said an official from the Public Health Department (PHD), on the condition of anonymity.

Dr Harish Shetty, a city-based psychiatrist, said, “Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the real mental health in this age of millennium has come to the focus. So, other than just focusing on the urban population, there is a need to focus on the rural areas also,” Shetty said.

First published on: 01-12-2022 at 05:35 IST
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