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Every year, 2.7 crore children are born in India. This is the sum that we hope becomes the dividend of India's growth equation. This cohort, it is projected, adds to India's celebrated profile of having the world's largest youth population for the next two decades -- approximately 356 million 10-24-year-olds. Projections peg great hope on this statistic, anticipating it to be the major factor driving the plot of India's growth story. However, there are daunting challenges accompanying this demographic advantage, particularly when it comes to health.
Despite the great technical and cultural strides of the last 44 years, mainstream Hindi cinema has sadly not yet eschewed the 'fatality outlook' around cancer. More recent films like Waqt: The Race Against Time (2005), Dasvidaniyan (2008) and Aashayein (2010) all showed lead or important characters ultimately surrendering to cancer without even putting a decent fight. While the ailment certainly still kills people, it is disheartening to see that not a single mainstream movie has shown the other side of the story: that people also kill cancer.
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It is now time to combine the powers of media on one hand and health activists/workers on the other. Lasting development of any society lies in its regarding health and education more important than any other political subject.
India faces an urgent need to fix its basic health concerns in the areas of communicable diseases, maternal and infant mortality. In addition, the nation faces the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The panacea could be a three-dimensional talent funneling process, resulting in the availability of an adequate resource pool for healthcare and, finally, better health for the nation's populace. Let me term this the A2S System.
One person dies from tuberculosis every minute in India. Millions of children die every year because of inadequate access to food and preventable illnesses like diarrhoea and pneumonia. India is the diabetes capital of the world and the third most obese country. Due to mental health conditions like depression, India's suicide rate in the 15-29 age group is the highest in the world. The Infant Mortality Rate in India is 40 which compares poorly with its neighbours including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.