In health sector, India has made enormous strides over the past decades. The life expectancy has crossed 67 years, infant and under-five mortality rates are declining as is the rate of disease incidence. Many diseases, such as polio, guinea worm disease, yaws, and tetanus, have been eradicated.
In spite of this progress, the communicable diseases is expected to continue to remain a major public health problem in the coming decades posing a threat to both national and international health security.(3) Besides endemic diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and neglected tropical diseases, the communicable disease outbreaks will continue to challenge public health, requiring high level of readiness in terms of early detection and rapid response. In this regard, vector-borne diseases, such as dengue and acute encephalitis syndrome, are of particular concern. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest health challenges facing humanity that must be tackled with all seriousness.
Poverty and health have a two-way relationship. Poverty increases the vulnerability of people to disease, and sickness affects their income leading to poverty. Tobacco has been identified as a major avoidable cause of illness and premature death. In India, more than half of men and one-tenth of women use one or more forms of tobacco. Tobacco-use shows a clear and continual increase with decreasing wealth quintiles. Poor smokers, who are at a greater risk of illness, are also at a greater risk of not being treated or of falling into greater poverty if they seek treatment. Poor people spend money on tobacco that could be spent on food, shelter, education, and healthcare. These decisions can entrench families in an ongoing cycle of poverty and ill-health. The direct and indirect costs of tobacco-use are immense for national economy. This has positioned control of tobacco relevant in India’s per suite to achieve the goals of poverty eradication and health for all.