By Categories: Editorials, Society

In 2015, India, like other developed countries, had more number of deaths caused by non-communicable diseases.

In the case of males, deaths due to non-communicable diseases (3.6 million) were more than double that were caused by communicable diseases (1.5 million), while it was nearly double in females (2.7 million due to non-communicable diseases and nearly 1.4 million deaths due to communicable diseases).

Cardiovascular diseases were the leading cause of death in both sexes in India — 1.6 million in males and 1.1 million in females. The next biggest cause of deaths was chronic respiratory diseases — 0.68 million in males and 0.5 million in females.

These are some of the results published in seven papers on the Global Burden of Diseases published in The Lancet .

India had the highest number of suicide deaths in the world last year, with nearly 132,000 deaths in men and over 76,000 deaths in women.

At 0.36 and 0.31 million, neonatal disorders killed nearly equal number of males and females. The other leading causes of deaths last year in both sexes were ischemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke, TB, lower respiratory infections and diarrhoea.

Slower reduction in MMR

Along with Nepal and Bhutan, India has registered a slower reduction in maternal mortality rate (MMR). MMR was reduced by a little over 50 per cent in 25 years (1990 to 2015), from over 130,000 deaths in 1990 to nearly 64,000 deaths in 2015.

In 2015 alone, the number of under-5 deaths in India was 1.26 million.India recorded the largest number of under-5 deaths in 2015, at 1.3 million (1.2–1.3 million), followed by Nigeria (726,600) and Pakistan (341,700).

Neonatal pre-term birth complications, lower respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases and measles were some of the leading causes of under-5 mortality.

The rate of under-5 deaths was 48.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. For every 1,000, live births there were 29.06 neonatal deaths (0-27 days after birth), 20.25 stillbirths, 11.74 post-neonatal (28 days to 1 year) deaths, and 8.80 deaths during the 1-4 years.

Leading risk factors

For both sexes, the leading risk factors are high systolic blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, ambient particulate matter, household air pollution, and unsafe water. According to The Lancet, smoking is a bigger risk factor for Indians than even cholesterol and iron deficiency. Childhood under-nutrition and lack of whole grains figure in list.

Iron-deficiency anaemia is the leading cause of years lived with disability in the case of India, followed by lower back and neck pain, sense organ diseases, and depression.


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