ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Epidemiological Transition in Urban Maharashtra

Epidemiological transition is a process whereby the predominant causes of death shift from communicable/parasitic diseases to non-communicable diseases. A study of the Medical Certification of Cause of Death in Maharashtra shows that the share of communicable diseases has gone down only slightly while diseases of the circulatory system, neoplasm and injuries have increased significantly. This increase is a reflection of development and changing lifestyles.

Epidemiological transition is the shift from the predominance of infectious and parasitic diseases to that of chronic and degenerative diseases of adulthood as the main cause of death (United Nations 1998). Demographic transition, health transition, nutritional transition and epidemiological transition overlap and it is difficult to affirm which one precedes the others. All these transitions are the product of socio-economic development and modernisation.

According to Omran (1998), the theory of epidemiological transition is based on the systematic application of epidemiologic inference on changing health, mortality, survival and fertility over time and place, linked to their socio-economic, environmental, lifestyle, demographic, healthcare and technological determinants/correlates in different societal settings. Epidemiological transition focuses on changes over time in the causes of mortality affecting certain populations, changes in health conditions and disease patterns. It results in a decline in death rates and an increase in life expectancy. Society goes through a transition from communicable diseases to degenerative diseases. For epidemiological transition to happen there is no unique path that leads to low mortality, a lower incidence of communicable diseases and increase in non- communicable or chronic diseases. There may be many paths, multiplicity of stages and different societies would have different experiences (Wahdan 1996).

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