Government announces campaigns to check diseases

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Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan at the launch of the Public Service Advertisement titled `SUNITA` and the `Resource Website` under the National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP) in New Delhi on Aug 7, 2014. (Photo: IANS/PIB)New Delhi: The government  announced a slew of campaigns to tackle major communicable and non-communicable diseases even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) advocated low salt intake to prevent them.

In an event to mark the World Heart Day, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the government campaigns will involve NGOs, religious organisations, educational institutions, medical professionals of the government, private sectors and clubs.

“We will use such occasions to communicate with citizens on how to deal with diseases at the prevention and curative levels, the importance of timely check-ups and other matters,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a walk organised here on the occasion.

“A specific day in a year will be dedicated to awareness building on a particular disease. For instance, Nov 7 will be observed as National Cancer Awareness Day, apart from Feb 4 which is already marked as World Cancer Day,” he said.

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He said the government has also planed to mark special days for diabetes, anaemia, hypertension, blindness, deafness, malnutrition, obesity, mental conditions and issues related to infant and maternal mortality.

The minister emphasised the need for social mobilisation and how every human can become a stake-holder in the country’s health system.

The WHO, meanwhile, advocated salt reduction to prevent and control non-communicable diseases as high salt intake increases the risk of high blood pressure and is associated with heart disease and stroke.

“The WHO recommends a daily salt intake of less than five grams per adult or just under a teaspoon. The recommendation is even lower for children, depending on their energy needs,” Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO regional director for southeast Asia said in a message on the occasion.

High salt intake increases the risk of high blood pressure and is associated with heart disease, stroke and other diseases. An estimated 2.5 million deaths can be prevented each year if global salt consumption were reduced to the recommended level, she said.

Governments have a critical role to play and must create awareness and develop policies that enable populations to consume adequate quantities of safe and healthy diet, with low salt content, she added.