As poverty and illiteracy being both major contributors of poor health, Chhattisgarh and Surguja lag in major health indicators. Further, the problem of inaccessibility makes the already difficult problem worse. Though, over time maternal and child health have improved somewhat, still high burden of Malaria, Leprosy, and Tuberculosis remains. To further add to the agony, trends of non-communicable diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cancer and so on including injuries and mental health problems are increasing. Tribal communities of Chhattisgarh in particular, are highly vulnerable to various genetic diseases, and nutritional deficiencies. Initial screening for sickle cell gene across Chhattisgarh has revealed a prevalence of 10%. In 2016, the proportion of communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases (CMNNDs) was 37.7%, the proportion of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) was 50.4%, and 11.9% of injuries*.
Non communicable diseases usually need treatment lifelong. This means an additional hole in the already tiny pocket of the poor. The responsibility thus falls on the public health systems to provide for quality coverage of these problems to reduce/prevent out of pocket expenditure. Further, this mix of infectious and non-infectious diseases add to the complexity of health problems. Patients might often suffer from both which requires a higher level of competence to provide adequate care.
*Government of Chhattisgarh, Chhattisgarh NCDI poverty Commission. Bridging the Gap of Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries for Universal Health Coverage in Chhattisgarh State, India:Baseline Findings. October 2020. (forthcoming)