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Experts want focus on lifestyle diseases too during Covid

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 Rohit Shishodia
Eminent health experts have stressed that prevention and treatment of cancer and other non-communicable diseases should never be left out during Covid pandemic.

These views were expressed during a recently held webinar on  Cancer Care organized by PHD Chamber.

Dr. N Subramanian, Chairman, Health Committee, PHD Chamber, and Director, Medical Services, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said that Covid-19 is a global disease which has disrupted healthcare.

He explained that one dimension is the number of deaths due to Covid-19 and the other is a disruption in life and care. As a medical practitioner, we cannot delay treatment of any disease during this period, he added.

He further pointed out that cancer needs early attention. Apart from cancer, there are other (NCDs) like diabetes, hypertension, heart, and lung disease which constitute a large portion of deaths. We are aware that raising awareness, treatment, and prevention of these conditions is going to cost us nearly $ 47 trillion in next 10 years, he pointed out.

Dr. Subramanian said, “We have to focus on two parts. First, let us look at a disease that worsens the outcomes of patients who are affected by Covid-19. Second, focusing on patients whose treatment is important by the presence of Covid-19. We know that people who belong to the old age group, or have diabetes, kidney and lung diseases, are required to be cautious and try to take measures to boost their immunity.

Mr. Pradeep Multani, Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that  management of NCDs includes detecting, screening and treating these diseases, and providing access to palliative care for people in need. High impact essential NCD interventions can be delivered through a primary health care approach to strengthen early detection and timely treatment.

“Evidence shows such interventions are excellent economic investments because, if provided early to patients, they can reduce the need for more expensive treatment,” added Mr Multani.

Dr. Gopi Chand Khilnani, Chairman, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, PSRI Hospital, said that it is  learned that Covid-19 not only affects the lungs, it also affects the brain, heart, cardiovascular system, intestines, and other parts of the body. Early detection and treatment are one of the most advised ways to treat this disease. Our lifestyle will change and we need to live with this disease
till the time we get a solution or vaccine, he added.

Mr. Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary General, PHD Chamber, concluded that epidemic preparedness – today and in future – depends on strong health systems, a resilient, qualified, well-resourced health workforce and healthy populations.


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