National Health Profile 2015: Suicides on a rise, cancer cases may grow by 15 per cent in five years

India’s public spending on health is among the lowest in South East Asia and BRIC countries

By Karnika Bahuguna
Published: Wednesday 23 September 2015

The burden of aspirations and expectations seems to be taking a toll on young India, especially males who succumb to suicidal deaths more than their female counterparts, according to the data published by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI). The data showed that over 67 per cent cases of suicidal deaths in 2013 had male victims.

CBHI is the health intelligence wing of the Director General of Health Services in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

"Suicidal rates are increasing significantly for young adults in a wider population. Maximum number of suicide cases—46,368—is reported between 15-29 years age group,” the report titled National Health Profile 2015 said.

The National Health Profile covers demographic, socio-economic, health status and health finance indicators, along with information on health infrastructure and human resources in the sector. CBHI has been publishing National Health Profile every year since 2005. This is the 11th edition.

More youngsters committing suicide

According to the data, there was a 14.3 per cent rise in suicidal deaths among males up to 14 years of age in 2013 over the previous year while similar cases for females in the same bracket fell 2.89 per cent. “Depression, anxiety, life style disorders and peer pressure are some of the reasons for the increase in suicide rates among youngsters,” said Pankaj Kumar, joint secretary, Delhi Psychiatric Society.

“The nuclear family set-up has replaced the joint-family system that was prevalent earlier and parents, too, do not have time for children, thus leading to lesser personal interactions and stress outlets. There are a lot of online friends for young people but no real friendships. Also, less physical and outdoor activities add to the problem,” he said.

There has been a decrease in suicidal deaths among females across all age groups, the data showed. Although, there has been a marginal 0.5 per cent decline in overall deaths due to suicides in the country but cases have risen significantly among males in the 15-29 and 45-59 years’ age group.

More females attempt suicides

According to Kumar, females are doubly prone to being depressed than males and attempt more suicides but the completion of the same is more among males.

He attributes the same to difference in brain make up, hormonal set-up and vigorous planning of suicides by males than females.

There were 134,799 cases of suicidal deaths in 2013, of which 90,543 or 67 per cent were males. There was around 3 per cent rise in similar cases among males in 15-29 and 45-59 years’ age group.

The data also showed the cases have always been on the rise for the male population since 2000 while the same has been erratic for females. The country recorded 66,032 cases of male suicides in 2000. The number has now risen by 37 per cent. The number of female suicides in 2000 was 42,561 in 2000 and has increased to 44,256 in 2013.

More from National Health Profile 2015 

Cancer cases expected to grow at about 15 per cent by 2020

The report further added that industrialisation and persistent inequality in health statuses between and within states due to various economic and social causes has made India bear a “triple burden of diseases”. This burden involves communicable diseases, emerging non-communicable diseases due to lifestyles and emerging infectious diseases.

While non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases are on a rise due to urbanisation and life-style change, communicable and water-borne diseases continue to be a major public health problem, it said.

In addition, there is always a threat of new emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases like Ebolavirus, Avian Influenza, SARS, novel H1N1 influenza virus etc,” said the National Health Profile 2015.

The report projected cancer cases to grow about 15 per cent by 2020 to 1,320,928, with females being more prone to the disease. According to the report, currently 548,844 males in the country are projected to suffer from cancer while the number is 599,847 for females.

Shedding light on the inequity in access to health services in the country, the report said that increased use of technology in diagnostics and treatment of diseases, coupled with rising knowledge andexpectations of the population regarding therapeutic measures, has caused an increase in cost of treatment.The increase has, in turn, led to inequity in access to healthcare services, it said, adding that five per cent of India’sGross Domestic Product (GDP) is spent on health and 80 per cent of that is in the form of out-of-pocket expenditure.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), out-of-pocket expenditure is any direct outlay by households, including gratuities and in-kind payments, to health practitioners and suppliers of pharmaceuticals, therapeutic appliances, and other goods and services whose primary intent is to contribute to the restoration or enhancement of the health status of individuals or population groups.

Urban India incurred an out-of-pocket expenditure of Rs 146 per capita per month in 2011-12 while rural India’s similar expense was Rs 95, according to the report. “Over 60 per cent of the total out-of-pocket health expenditure is on medicines, both in rural and urban India in 2011-12,” it said.

Centre’s contribution to health expenditure dips

The per capita public expenditure on health in India has gone up in nominal terms to Rs 890 in 2012-13, from Rs 621 in 2009-10. Adding that the share of Centre in total public expenditure on health isdeclining steadily over the years, the report said the centreto state ratio was 33:67 in 2012-13.

“The share of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is 26 per cent of the total health expenditure of the Government whereas the share of other central ministries is seven per cent and state and UTs (union territories) share is 67 per cent,” the report said.

India’s public spending on health, as a percentage of GDP, is one of the lowest among South-East Asian countries and the lowest among Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC nations), according to the report. This spending was 1.08 per cent in 2012-13 and there wasno significant change in expenditure since 2009-10. 

According to the report, the north-eastern states had the highest average per capita public expenditureon health in 2012-13 while empowered action group states and Assam had the lowest expenditure. 

Among all the states, excluding union territories, Kerala had the highest per capita out-of-pocket medicalexpenditure as well as total consumption expenditure in 2011-12.

More highlights from National Health Profile 2015

Total public expenditure on health for 2012-13 was Rs 1.08 lakh crore

72 per cent of all persons covered with insurance fall under Government sponsored schemes. Ofthese, 60 per cent were covered by public insurance companies while the remaining were covered by private insurance companies

Total number of allopathic doctors registered up to 2014 was 938,861

There is an increasing trend in the availability of allopathic medical practitioners, dental surgeons and nurses per lakh population over the years.

Number of dental surgeons registered with Central/State Dental Councils of India up to December, 2014 was 154,436

There is an increasing trend in number of registered dental surgeons from 2007

Total number of registered AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) doctors in India as on Jan 1, 2014 was 736,538

There are 20,306 hospitals having 675,779 beds in the country

There are 16,816 hospitals in rural areas, with 183,602 beds

There are 3,490 hospitals in urban areas, with 492,177 beds

Maternal mortality ratio is highest in Assam and lowest in Kerala

In India, 61 per cent of all women are married before the age of 16. The median age at first pregnancy is 19.2 years.

Cardiovascular diseases (24 per cent), chronic respiratory diseases (11 per cent), cancer (6 per cent) and diabetes (2 per cent) are the leading cause of mortality in India.

Suicidal rates are increasing significantly for young adults in a wider population

Number of suicide cases—46,368—is reported between 15-29 years age group

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