AT LEAST 1 lakh persons were diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes across several districts in Maharashtra between November 16 and December 31 last year during a free screening programme for those above 30 years of age. With rise in the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the state government is actively taking up screening programmes that suffered a setback during the Covid pandemic.
The screening programme was conducted as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav where the state health department was able to screen around 17.60 lakh persons.
Of these, 8.6 lakh were men while 9.03 lakh were women. Around 16.91 lakh persons were screened for hypertension of which 70,413 were diagnosed for the medical condition. Around 16.89 lakh were screened for diabetes of which 35,510 were diagnosed; 14.42 lakh for oral cancer of which 352 were diagnosed with the ailment; while of the 7.21 lakh screened for breast cancer, 53 were detected with the medical problem. Around 80 people were detected with cervical cancer from among the 3.34 lakh people who underwent screening.
Dr Padmaja Jogewar, Joint Director (NCD), Commissionerate of Health Services, state government said that NCDs account for higher morbidity and premature mortality. “While screening and early identification of the disorder is important to provide timely intervention, the programme suffered due to the pandemic. However, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, we have stepped up screening of the population above 30 across a majority of districts in the state and hope to complete our target by August this year,” Dr Jogewar said.
Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav commenced on March 12, 2021 — a 75 week countdown to the 75th anniversary of Independence — and will end on August 15, 2023, according to the official website of the Union Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
“The screening programme of the target population of 30 years and above has been completed in the four districts of Wardha, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Satara. Here, we can commence with a second round of screening. Family members are also being counselled as to how they can help in reducing the intake of salt and sugar, while our healthcare workers are ensuring that those diagnosed are availing of medication and further treatment,” Dr Jogewar said.