Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
21-December-2011 13:09 IST
Consultative Committee of MoHFW meets to Discuss Communicable Diseases’ Burden
The Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad today chaired the meeting of the Consultative Committee of Parliament attached to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. In his opening remarks Shri Azad pointed out communicable diseases pose a major public health challenge for India. The country is vulnerable to emerging and re-emerging diseases because of the existing environmental, socio-economic and demographic situation, he said. He noted that the burden of Tuberculosis in India is the highest in the world. Estimated prevalence of TB is about 266 cases per lakh population and 23 persons per lakh population are dying because of TB. About 1.5 million cases of malaria are reported with 30,000 deaths annually. About 40 million persons infected with Filaria, one-third of global cases, live in India. About 129 million population is at risk of Kala-azar in the 52 endemic districts mostly of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and eastern Uttar Pradesh. HFM informed that 5149 Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) cases and 677 deaths were reported in 2010. Of these, there were 565 cases and 110 deaths due to JE in 11 states. About 1,26,800 new cases of leprosy were reported in 2010 which is nearly half of global burden. More than 300 million episodes of acute diarrhoea occur every year in India in children below 5 years of age.

Shri Azad however, informed the Consultative Committee Members that note-worthy successes during 11th Plan period have been achieved to control communicable diseases. He mentioned that the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme presently detects about 72% of new sputum cases with treatment success rate of 86%. TB mortality has decreased from over 5 lakh deaths every year at the beginning of the programme to about 2.8 lakh deaths presently. Leprosy has been eliminated as a public health problem in 32 states and 83% districts of the country. Malaria morbidity has reduced by 16.2%. About 3.5 lakh ASHAs have been trained for diagnosis and management of malaria. All 250 Filaria endemic districts were covered with Mass Drug Administration. Micro Filaria rate reduced from 1.24% to 0.34%. Kala-azar cases reduced to <1/10,000 population in 320 of 514 blocks and mortality declined by 44%. Case Fatality Rate due to Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever has been reduced to 0.4% in 2010. JE vaccination was administered in a campaign mode in 111 districts. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved up-gradation of National Centre for Diseases Control.

He added that to further control communicable diseases, the 12th Five Year Plan aims to address several public health challenges, such as: ensuring primary health care to all including urban slum population; strengthening of health care infrastructure as per Indian Public Health Standards; increasing public health workforce; strengthening disease surveillance and response systems; formulation and enforcement of appropriate Public Health Laws and increasing public health allocation & spending. Shri Azad reiterated that inter-sectoral coordination is of vital importance in controlling spread of communicable diseases, as causal factors like safe drinking water, sanitation etc. are beyond the mere control of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare only.

Most Members present at the meeting expressed concern at the spread of Japanese Encephalitis cases. They suggested that preventive programmes should be strengthened and coordinated approach adopted to tackle communicable diseases. Members also emphasised that awareness campaigns, on Doordarshan and AIR particularly, should be mounted as also allocation of funds for local health melas started to ensure outreach programmes.

In his concluding remarks Shri Azad impressed that Government of India not only provides for free vaccines and ensures availability of transport and vaccine to grass root level but the State administering system needs to be made more effective. Shri Azad informed that the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare would soon be finalizing half an hour health slots on regional Doordarshan and Radio channels to ensure awareness about the available health programmes in local languages round the year. He mentioned that a Group of Ministers has already been constituted to adopt a multi sectoral approach for controlling Japanese Encephalitis.

Among the Members who attended today’s Consultative Committee Meeting included the Minister of State for Health & Family welfare Shri Sudip Bandyopadhyay. The following Members of Lok Sabha: Shri Shailendra Kumar, Dr. P. Venugopal, Shri Sanjay Singh Chauhan, Smt. Davidson J. Helen, Dr. Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Dr. Mirza Mehboob Beg, Shri Virendra Kumar as also Members of Rajya Sabha: Shri Veer Pal Singh Yadav, Dr. C.P. Thakur, Dr K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, Shri Baishnab Parida and Independent Shri Inder Singh Namdhari were present at today’s meeting apart from the senior officials of all departments of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.