The burden of heart disease and its risk factors in India calls for formulating a sound public health approach that would combine interventions with robust surveillance, the Governor K. Rosaiah said on Thursday.

Addressing World Heart Day celebrations under the auspices of The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Mr. Rosaiah, who is also its Chancellor, said “efforts to put in place an intervention programme should be complemented with a robust surveillance mechanism so as to monitor, evaluate and guide policies and programmes.”

Pointing to World Health Organisation reports that Non Communicable Diseases accounted for 70 per cent of deaths worldwide, the Governor said it was worrying that about 26.3 per cent men and 22.5 per cent women in the 25-69 age group die due to cardio-vascular disease in India.

It was equally distressing that in spite of emerging as a sought after destination for healthcare and medical treatment, managing one's own health remained a neglected area, he said.

Pointing out that sedentary lifestyle, stress, smoking and alcohol abuse were the root causes for many NCDs, the Governor called for a concerted and coordinated awareness campaign led by the Government and NGOs. He also suggested workplace interventions.

The Governor presented Lifetime Achievement Awards and Best Doctor Awards to eminent cardiologists and cardiac surgeons.

Mayil Vahanan Natarajan, Vice-Chancellor, The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, said the WHO has been sounding an alarm about the rapidly rising burden of cardio-vascular disease in India over the past decade. He hoped that the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project and the nationally rolled out programme for prevention and control of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and stroke would considerably improve the health profile of the population. He also called for sustained awareness events as at least 80 per cent of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke were avoidable.