Stats Show Leap In Respiratory Disease DeathsTIMES NEWS NETWORK
New Delhi: At a time when the polluted air is among the capital’s biggest concerns, the Delhi Government Statistical Handbook 2017 reveals data that is cause for more worry. In 2016, as many as 9,149 deaths were related to respiratory factors, according to the chief registrar of births and deaths. This figure represents a big jump over 2015, when 6,502 people had died of respiratory diseases. Doctors, of course, explain that the term ‘respiratory disease’ covers many illnesses that may not necessarily be related to pollution.
Data show a consistent rise in deaths due to respiratory diseases between 2009 and 2011, going up from 5,328 to 8,590. There was a decline in 2012 to 7,513 and further to 5,986 in 2013 and 5,516 deaths in 2014. There has been a steady rise since then, with 6,502 deaths in 2015, rising to an all-time high of 9,149 in 2016.
Every year, TOI has reported how doctors have been warning that the worsening quality of air is triggering respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and other infections. This year’s smog in November left even healthy people breathless, and many with respiratory problems or heart disease had to make their way to hospital.
Dr Arup Basu, head of respiratory medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, agreed that pollution was an aggravating factor leading to mortality in respiratory cases. He said that people with cardiac or neurological co-morbidities were more vulnerable to the adverse impact of pollution. “The elderly and the very young, say, below two years of age, are also at risk of suffering the adverse impact of pollution,” Dr Basu said, before adding, “Having said this, I would also like to point outthat thesteep rise in number of deaths categorised under respiratory diseases might be due to the fact that there is more awareness about and higher reporting about conditions falling under respiratory disease.”
Meanwhile, data on total deathsfrom allcausesin Delhi rose from 1,24,516 in 2015 to 1,41, 632 in 2016. The number of live births in 2015 was 3,74,012, which increased to 3,79,161in 2016. The data revealed a decline in infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births from 21.66 in 2014 and 23.25 in 2015 to 21.35 in 2016.
The statistics said there were 1,145 health institutions with 52,003 beds in Delhi as on December 31, 2016 compared with 1,131 institutions and 48,131 beds on December 31, 2015.
The handbook said that around 3.82 lakh senior citizens and 71,581 differently abled persons were given financial assistance during 2016-17, even as 1.66 lakh girls received monetary help under the Ladli scheme in the year.