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Prevention and control of cardiovascular diseases in India needs a strengthened and well-functioning primary health care system: A narrative review


1 Department of Health Systems, World Health Organization India Country Office, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Swami Rama Himalayan University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India
3 Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
4 Department of Community and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
5 The Heart Clinic, Vasai-Virar, Maharashtra, India
6 Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland

Correspondence Address:
Chandrakant Lahariya,
B-7/24/2, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave Main, New Delhi - 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_166_20

This article reviews the ongoing initiatives to prevent and control cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India and analyses the role of primary health care (PHC) system. The authors note that in last 2 decades, there has been increasing policy recognition of the challenges posed by CVDs and NCDs in India. The review of ongoing government health program in India indicate that while the interventions to tackle CVDs and NCD have also been launched and scaled up, a majority of these initiatives continue to be delivered through district or sub-district levels. Though, there has been plans, the scale up through PHC system is at early stage only. There is sufficient scientific evidence that the effective prevention and control of CVDs need accessible health services and a series of public health interventions through strengthened PHC system. There are learnings from COVID-19 pandemic response in India (in areas such as private sector engagement, effective enforcement of health regulation, community engagement and the use of tele-consultations), which can be useful. The authors conclude that a strengthened and well-functioning PHC system can ensure increased access to CVD and NCD services. As India plans to scale up ongoing health programs and launch a few new initiatives, the learnings from the past, documented in this paper, could be useful. These steps would help India to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage.


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