Special Correspondent

It affected 65 million people in 2008

Chronic diseases account for 53 per cent deaths

India has highest number of oral cancer patients

NEW DELHI: Due to globalisation and a stressful working environment hypertension threatens to wallop the work force in India, according to a survey.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in a joint report said 65 million people were affected by hypertension in 2008 and that in the years ahead it was likely to see a quantum leap of over 135 million to touch a figure of 200 million by 2015.

Threat to well-being

The desperation to protect one’s livelihood in this era of changing economy, with little medical facilities to cope with the situation, was posing a major threat to the well-being of the working force, maintained Assocham president Sajjan Jindal.

Productive years

India is losing its potentially productive years due to increasing heart diseases, strokes and diabetes in the age group of 35-60, one of the highest in the world, according to the report.

In the absence of proper facilities to mitigate propensities leading to tensions and high blood pressures, chronic diseases accounted for 53 per cent of deaths in the country and this was expected to go up to 60 per cent by 2015 and 66 per cent by 2020. According to the report, 4 million deaths in 1990 were due to chronic diseases and the same was likely to touch a figure of 7 million by 2015.

Adds to national losses

This rise in deaths would only add to the national losses, which in monetary terms were pegged at $ 90 million between 2005 and 2008. The report estimated that it was likely to jump to $ 160 million during 2009 and 2015.

Adding to the problem was the consumption of tobacco in India. Being the second largest consumer in the world, the country accounted for the highest number of oral cancer patients.

Total expenditure

Pointing out that the country’s total expenditure on health care was just about 3 per cent of the GDP as against the world average of 9 per cent, the report called for greater participation of the private sector to save millions of lives.