Communicable Diseases Grew 32% in 5 Years, Spending On Them Just 7%

Spending on India’s three main communicable disease control programmes grew 7.2 per cent over five years, while the cases reported increased by 32 per cent during the same period.

India contributes to nearly two-thirds of malaria cases and over two out of five of malaria deaths in the south-east Asia region. India has the largest number of TB cases in the world—over a quarter of the global TB and multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) burden, according to the USAID.

The central government allocates funds to control communicable diseases under the following programmes:

  1. National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP)
  2. Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP)
  3. National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP)

These programmes are funded under the National Health Mission or NHM, which also includes programmes for child-health, maternal-health and maintenance of health infrastructure.

There has been a 12 per cent increase in the allocation towards NHM, from Rs 17,188 crore to the Rs 19,307 crore over the five-year period between 2012 and 2016.

The National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme covers malaria, dengue, chikunguniya and Japanese encephalitis. The allocation to the programme has seen a decline from Rs 482 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 463 crore in 2015-16, a decline of three per cent.

The cases reported for malaria show a decline of 14 per cent, while dengue saw an increase of over 4 per cent. Cases of chikunguniya and Japanese encephalitis saw an increase of 33 per cent each, according to a reply in the Lok Sabha.

The allocation for the control of tuberculosis was increased by 23 per cent in the five-year period between 2011 and 2016, while the cases reported had almost doubled in the same period.

There has been a 16 per cent decline in the allocation to the leprosy eradication programme, while there has been an increase of 36 per cent in the leprosy cases across the country.

There is a clear correlation seen in the cases reported and allocations over five years. But, there are a host of other reasons, including a dearth of awareness and access to medicine and treatment, which may have contributed to the rise in the cases of communicable diseases.

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