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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 29-35

COVID-19 and noncommunicable diseases: Impact and the strategic approaches

1 Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 MM Medical College and Hospital, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India
3 School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; Former Director, communicable Diseases, WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. J S Thakur
Department of Community Medicine, School of Public Health, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jncd.jncd_35_20

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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has critically impacted global health systems and economies both in developed and developing world, but especially in developing countries, already struggling to address the preexisting burden of diseases with limited resources, the situation has become even more challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious public health challenge today and is responsible for two concurrent global crises: the health crisis and an economic crisis. Only an appropriate policy response will determine the impact of pandemic on human health and economic well-being. It is clear that the pandemic will seriously undermine global efforts to attain the sustainable development goals. Among the major challenges are increased indoor time leading to increased exposure of other behavioral risk factors for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as unhealthy diet, alcohol use, stress, inadequate access to essential medicines. Further travel or transport restrictions leading to inaccessibility to health care centres, early detection and laboratory testing for NCD patients and increased susceptibility in health care settings for chronic disease patients. Thus, the strategies are required to address this comorbidity which may include integration and convergence of the existing communicable and NCD programs, strengthening primary health care for universal health coverage, updating guidelines, enhancing surge capacity, and multisectoral participation. It is essential to assess the prevalent gaps, mobilization of resources, evidence-based policymaking, strengthen health systems financing and leadership and effective partnerships for addressing health disparities and inequities which are further accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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