The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday approved the ambitious National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) for implementation during the remaining period of 11th Five-Year Plan, at an estimated outlay of Rs.1,230.90 crore.

Of the sanctioned amount, Rs.499.38 crore would be earmarked for interventions on diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and Rs.731.52 crore for cancer control, on a cost-sharing basis between the Centre and the States, on a ratio of 80:20. It also approved the inter-usability of funds from one component to another within the same group of diseases, limited to a ceiling of 10 per cent, in order to impart operational flexibility in implementation of these programmes. Transfer of funds from one component to the other beyond this limit would be decided by the Empowered Programme Committee (EPC) and the Mission Steering Group (MSG). Approval has also been accorded for empowering the MSG and EPC, set up under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), to approve financial norms in respect of all components of the programme.

The programme will be implemented in 20,000 sub-centres and 700 Community Health Centres (CHCs) in 100 districts across 15 States/UTs by promoting healthy lifestyle through massive health education and mass media efforts at country level, “opportunistic screening” of persons above the age of 30 years, establishment of Non Communicable Disease (NCD) clinics at CHC and district level, development of trained manpower and strengthening of tertiary level health facilities.

It is expected to screen more than seven crore adult population for diabetes and hypertension, make early diagnosis of NCDs and offer treatment at early stages. To fill the gap in the health delivery system, about 32,000 health personnel would be trained to provide opportunistic and targeted screening, diagnosis and management of NCDs.

With the successful implementation of the programme, it is expected to achieve behaviour change in the community to adopt healthy lifestyles, including dietary patterns, enhanced physical activity and reduced intake of tobacco and alcohol resulting in overall reduction in the risk factors of common NCDs.

The programme has been planned in the wake of a rapid health transition, with a rising burden of NCDs in the country which are emerging as the leading causes of death in India, accounting for over 42 per cent of all deaths with considerable loss in potentially productive years of life.

Major risk factors for NCDs are raised blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and obesity which are modifiable.

Hence a majority of cancers and cardiovascular diseases can be prevented and treated if diagnosed at an early stage.