Monday, April 26, 2010

Clock ticking: Majority Indians falling prey to heart diseases

Gurgaon, Apr 20 (UNI) Indians may account for more than 50 per cent of the global cardiovascular diseases if urgent action is not taken, according to health experts.

Aiming to reduce this burden, a Centre of Excellence for prevention and control of such diseases was opened here today.

Jointly set up by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) and Emory University, the Centre will provide population-based applied research and training to combat diseases related to heart.

There has been a rise in diseases like diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease and stroke world over and Indians are fast falling prey to them.

''While there are several effective and cost-effective interventions for prevention and control of cardio-metabolic diseases, the translation into practice and policy is woefully inadequate,'' Prof D Prabhakaran, Department of Chronic Disease
Epidemiology, PHFI and Executive Director, Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC), said.

The Centre would enable clinical research infrastructure development, conduct research and stimulate clinical, epidemiologic, health services and outcomes, health policy, translation and behavioural research, he added.

President and Director of MDRF Prof V Mohan noted that the country needed more of skilled health workers in large numbers. ''This Centre will act as a facilitator in training such people. It will develop models,'' he said.

Prof Nikhil Tandon from Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, AIIMS, emphasised that the Centre would fill in the gap between doctors and patients.

''A majority of people, who suffer from such diseases, do visit doctors and practitioners, but still the results are not visible. This is because there is a significant gap between patients and doctors. There are a huge number of people who either do not get the right medicine or do not follow their prescription. This is an
attempt to fill that gap,'' he said.

There are altogether 11 such Centres of Excellence in the south Asian region, out of which two are in India. The others are in the US, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia, China and Bangladesh.

These Centres are together funded by National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and United Health.

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