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The health budget this year should focus on expanding the paradigm of technology in healthcare and government should support initiatives which work towards creating healthcare systems based on technology, a global health body has said. Spelling out expectations from the Centre in the health care sector in the forthcoming budget, The George Institute for Global Health (GIGH) said that there is a need to go beyond market-driven opportunities to tackle the emerging threats including chronic diseases by using a multi-pronged preventative strategy. "Given the significance and uptake of technology across all sectors and considering the digital and technology enabled push by the government, it is imperative that the focus this year should be to expand the paradigm of technology in healthcare. "Steps need to be taken to ensure growth of evidence-based Health and Government should support initiatives working towards creating a better healthcare system using technology," the GIGH said. It said that there is a need to go beyond market-driven opportunities to tackle the emerging threats and chronic diseases by using a multi-pronged preventative strategy. It could be done by tackling the risk factors like smoking, alcoholism and tobacco, sedentary lifestyle and health consequences of climate change. "This can involve tax breaks and sops on proven, evidence-based approaches to tackle risks like promoting healthy foods, creatively designed workstations in offices, getting preventive health checks, and more taxes on sugary drinks, cigarettes, etc," the institute said. The GIGH asserted that the threat posed by chronic noncommunicable diseases are "very real" as shown by the latest data from the Global Burden of disease - five out of the top ten causes of deaths and premature disability in India are NCDs. "It is time we pay attention to the ticking time bomb and be responsive before it gets too late and even the options for our reactions may become very limited," it said.
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