Surveillance of chronic diseases | challenges and strategies for India

The need to develop a robust public health surveillance system has increased manifold for India because of the ongoing demographic and epidemiological transition and the rising challenges of chronic diseases. In this regard, the presence of robust chronic disease risk factors, morbidity and mortality surveillance mechanisms can go a long way in prevention and reduction of socioeconomic costs associated with such illnesses. In the last century, chronic disease surveillance was not a major health concern or policy focus although there were explicit policy efforts for collection of vital statistics related to cancer in India under the National Cancer Registry Programme (NCRP). However, with growing burden of chronic diseases, in the last decade two important chronic disease risk factor surveillance efforts were initiated in India. These studies are namely, WHO-ICMR Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) risk factor surveillance and NCD risk factor survey under the Integrated Disease Surveillance
Project (IDSP).