Journal of Public Health and Primary Care

: 2023  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 55--56

It's time to focus on noncommunicable diseases amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Suraj Kapoor 
 Department of Community Medicine, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suraj Kapoor
Department of Community Medicine, AFMC, Pune, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Kapoor S. It's time to focus on noncommunicable diseases amid the COVID-19 pandemic.J Public Health Prim Care 2023;4:55-56

How to cite this URL:
Kapoor S. It's time to focus on noncommunicable diseases amid the COVID-19 pandemic. J Public Health Prim Care [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 May 29 ];4:55-56
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COVID-19 was declared as Public health emergency of international concern and Pandemic on January 30, 20, and March 11, 21 respectively by the WHO. The Pandemic caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, has remained a public health concern[1] for almost 2 years now. At present, although some prevention, control, and management guidelines have been approved by various health authorities such as Food and Drug Administration, WHO, and the health authorities of different countries across the globe, still the number of deaths with a significantly high disability-adjusted life year remains the matter of concern.[2] There may be various reasons first, we are not fully aware of the natural history of the Pandemic. Second, the interventions in prevention, control, and the treatment of the disease were found lacking scientific basis namely inappropriate use of drugs like steroids, use of methods not scientifically proven like the inappropriate use of disinfection tunnel, emphasis on surface disinfection across the globe, although literature suggests that fomite transmission is a very rare entity.[3] Amid lack of necessary supplies like oxygen, medicines, and unavailability of hospital beds, there was the rise of hoarding and black-marketing. Fake Remdesivir and other medicines were manufactured and sold in different parts of India at a very high price. Over-the-counter sale of certain drugs like steroids not only lead to an epidemic of mucormycosis but may also have resulted in deranged glycemic control of many patients and may further have led to the severe outcome in COVID-19. Many such interventions not only led to wastage of scarce resources in the Pandemic, but also resulted in neglecting the important aspects like paying attention to risk factors for COVID-19, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases Another reason may be the strict restrictions in the form of lockdowns with limited physical activity may have added fuel to already burning trend of noncommunicable diseases. This commentary highlights the importance of paying attention to diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Noncommunicable diseases especially diabetes and obesity are important causes of morbidity and mortality across the globe. [Table 1] highlights the high prevalence of these comorbidities in the selected countries of different WHO regions. The current prevalence rates of diabetes are extremely high in countries throughout the world.[4] With the rise of omicron as a variant of concern, it has been seen that there is increased transmissibility but the majority of cases across the globe are less with lesser hospitalization rates. Although the matter of concern being the proportion of hospitalization is high among the patients having noncommunicable diseases, especially diabetes. Published literature suggests that COVID-19 patients with diabetes were highly vulnerable to a severe outcome or even fatality.[5] Another report from the United States reveals that almost 40% of the patient who died due to COVID-19 were diabetic.[6] A recent meta-analysis done in Europe also revealed that Diabetes is the most important cause for mortality in COVID-19 hospitalized patients.[7] If we see the hospitalization trends it also shows a similar picture as highlighted in a report in which nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations were attributed to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart failure.[8]{Table 1}[10],[11],[12]

Patients with diabetes mellitus have infections more often than those without diabetes. The course of the infections is also more complicated in this patient group. One of the possible causes of this increased prevalence of infections is defects in immunity.[9] This commentary highlights that the policymakers should draw attention to the growing trend of noncommunicable diseases especially important in the recent trend of the pandemic in which the majority of hospitalization is due to comorbidities, with diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases are in the top of the list. All the preventive and control strategies like vaccination should be prioritized based on such factors. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 goals of a one-third reduction in premature mortality, all the health authorities across the nation need to give due attention to this burning issue.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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