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Efforts to curb adolescent deaths yield positive results

The efforts of Union Health Minister JP Nadda to control deaths of adolescent boys and girls due to communicable and non-communicable diseases have started yielding results. Given that communicable diseases pose a major threat to young adolescents, a latest study has reported that deaths due to such ailments have decreased from 56 per cent to 54 per cent in the recent years, while the data of deaths due to non-communicable diseases remain unchanged.
The government runs Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), an adolescent health programme, to address the health problems faced by adolescents and young adults.
According to a report published in International Journal of Epidemiology, an estimated 2.75 lakh adolescents died in 2013. Out of 2.75 lakh young population that died due to both communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), 35 per cent were in the 10–14 year age groups, while 65 per cent in the 15–19 year age group.
The report, which has been published after the analysis of global burden of disease (GBD) from 1990 to 2013, revealed that NCDs and injuries are a major contributing factor to the greater number of deaths among adolescents.
The report revealed that among girls of 10 –14 years, deaths due to injuries increased from 21 per cent to 23 per cent, whereas deaths due to communicable diseases decreased from 56 per cent to 54 per cent, while deaths due to non-communicable diseases remained stable at 23 per cent.
While the deaths among boys of 10–14 years due to injuries and non-communicable diseases increased from 26 per cent to 27 per cent and 24 per cent to 25 per cent, respectively, whereas death due to communicable diseases decreased from 50 per cent to 47 per cent.
The study also reported that road injuries and self-harm were the leading cause of disability among older adolescent boys in 2013, and self-harm and injuries due to fire and heat related factors were the leading causes of disability amongst older girls.
Talking about the analysis, Rohina Joshi, who is Associate Professor, at Faculty of Medicine, UNSW, said, "This is the stage when they indulge in a lot of unhealthy activities and food consumption which has a direct impact on onset of several NCDs such as heart disease and chronic lung disease."
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