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Significance of the development of a cardiovascular disease surveillance and reporting system in India.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the single largest cause of global morbidity and mortality and is the leading cause of death in the Indian subcontinent projected to contribute to deaths expected to double by 2015. The social and economic impact of these staggering projections highlight the need for a centralized effort to monitor and evaluate behavioral and physiological risk factors for CVD. Limited evidence on existing surveillance systems suggest that the key to an effective monitoring and evaluation (M and E) program for CVD surveillance in India relies upon the World Health Organization's STEP-wise model. Key recommendations for the Ministry of Health include the development of a national CVD surveillance program with expertise and a quality-improvement mechanism to receive continuous input from similar surveillance programs in likeminded countries. Structure of the surveillance system would include; (1) the development of process measures for CVD risk factor' based surveillance M and E systems for early detection of CVD at the local-level, (2) the development of trigger based data reporting responsibilities to State-based monitoring teams including incentives for accuracy in data reporting and the use of data-driven evidence to target risk specific intervention and prevention on Central Government monitoring teams with reporting feedback to the State and local-levels and (3) the creation of health policy to require the use of data to target risk specific prevention for intervention and developing local technical capacity. Such a system would provide significant cost and social benefits, presenting an evidence based data driven cost-effective business case for scale-up and potential use in areas comprising similar demographics. Future research should focus on the inclusion of a systematic critique of the reported data for the challenges to surveillance systems in India and the examination of the effect of an incentivized reporting system on the states. Further inquiry into the types of reporting and lessons from other countries' surveillance programs with alternative strategies to a national approach should address potential imitations at the ground or peripheral levels.

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