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Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00133

NCD Risk Reduction Teaching in India: A Curricular Landscape

 Sanghamitra Pati1*,  Rajeshwari Sinha2 and Pranab Mahapatra3
  • 1Regional Medical Research Center (ICMR), India
  • 2Independent Researcher, India
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, India

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have today become a growing epidemic, surpassing infectious diseases and adversely impacting national health systems, policies and socio-economic developments. Management of NCD and its risk factors such as tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity has garnered paramount importance under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the educational settings for healthcare professionals to prepare them for delivery of preventive interventions w.r.t. to NCD risk factors require a stronger foundation. In the present work, a landscaping exercise of the teaching of NCD risk factors in the extant Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) curricula of healthcare professionals from select medical colleges in India has been undertaken. Our assessment indicates that in the present MBBS curriculum, effort is largely directed upon teaching only specific aspects of NCDs such as hypertension, diabetes, mental illness, blindness, cancer etc., with greater inclination towards clinical aspects. With regard to NCD risk factors, there is inadequate focus on the healthcare promotion aspects. The overall syllabus also does not address long term health implications of tobacco smoking, lack of proper diet or physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption etc. It also does not reflect any practical trainings or sessions related to such health promotion or behaviour change activities. As a way forward, we suggest that NCD risk reduction aspects be incorporated extensively into existing health professional education through development of a curricular framework and intervention plan, contextualized to India. Findings form this study are expected to help provide critical inputs for the design and development of a curricular intervention plan with thrust on tobacco cessation, physical activity, healthy diet and restricted alcohol consumption, leading to creation of a health competent workforce engaged in NCD prevention and health promotion.

Keywords: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), NCD risk factor, Smoking Cessation, Alcohol consumption, Obesity, Diet, Physical activity (exercise)

Received: 02 Feb 2019; Accepted: 10 May 2019.

Edited by:

Sunjoo Kang, Yonsei University, South Korea

Reviewed by:

Nilesh C. Gawde, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India
Miodraga Stefanovska-Petkovska, Instituto de Saúde Ambiental (ISAMB), Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal  

Copyright: © 2019 Pati, Sinha and Mahapatra. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Sanghamitra Pati, Regional Medical Research Center (ICMR), Bhubaneswar, India,