Indians living longer but not as long as neighbourshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/indians-living-longer-but-not-as-long-as-neighbours/

Indians living longer but not as long as neighbours

Indians are living longer lives than earlier,but illness,disability and relatively early death remain severe healthcare challenges

Indians are living longer lives than earlier,but illness,disability and relatively early death remain severe healthcare challenges. And India appears to be lagging behind many of its neighbours including China on both life expectancy and death rates,according to the findings of a study that used new online tools announced by the Bill Gates and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

On December 15,The Lancet had dedicated a triple issue entirely to global and regional findings of the the Global Burden of Diseases,Injuries,and Risk Factors 2010 (GBD 2010) study,a collaborative project led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Findings specific to 187 countries will be announced at the Gates Foundation on March 5 by IHME director Dr Christopher Murray and Bill Gates.

Indians’ life expectancy at birth improved from 58.3 in 1990 to 65.2 in 2010,but most neighbours remained ahead in both years. India improved its death rate too,while its neighbours had a mixed record but remained ahead of India.

Researchers examined more than 300 diseases,injuries,and risk factors and found that a limited number of distinct causes accounts for the bulk of the Indian health burden. The top cause was ischaemic heart disease,followed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,stroke,diarrhoeal diseases,lower respiratory infections,tuberculosis,preterm birth complications,self-harm,road injury,and diabetes.

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“Our goal is to help governments and citizens make well-informed decisions about health policies and investments by arming them with information that is up-to-date,comprehensive,and accurate,” said Dr Murray. “With these new ways of making the data understandable,people everywhere for the first time can see the incredible progress being made in health and the daunting challenges that remain.”

Suicide rates for women aged 15 to 49 rose from 5 per cent of deaths in 1990 to nearly 10 per cent by 2010. Sixty per cent fewer young children have died of communicable diseases.

Noncommunicable diseases and injuries are creating more strains on health; communicable diseases and maternal health problems are less threatening. Strokes have risen as a cause of death,as have suicides.

“Over the past two decades,risk factors leading to major disease conditions in India have changed significantly,which has crucial implications for how we should plan to improve population health in India,” said Lalit Dandona,research professor,Public Health Foundation of India,and professor of global health at IHME.