Addressing the inaugural programme of the World Allergy Organisation's four-day international scientific conference here, he said 300 million people suffer from asthma globally and it causes the death of 2,50,000 people annually.
He pointed out that 400 million people suffer from rhinitis, 200 to 250 million people suffer from food allergies and one tenth of the population from drug allergies.
Azad said 20 to 30 per cent of people in India have one or more allergic diseases and their prevalence is rising day by day.
Experts from high, middle and low income countries should come together to develop common strategies to find solutions at the levels of policy, healthcare delivery and education, the minister said.
The scourge of diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases is posing a challenge to healthcare practitioners, administrators and policy makers in terms of the increasing complexity of treatment, life-long management and rising demand for more resources, he said.
Talking about the complex nature of allergic diseases and factors which contribute to their growth, Azad said that greater awareness is needed among primary care physicians and specialists to attend to them.
Observing that greater degree of cooperation is required among healthcare professionals worldwide, he said India would join hands with other nations, international groups and scientific and other professional bodies to address the public health issue of non-communicable diseases.