Dr. K Sudhakar, Hon’ble Minister for Health, Family Welfare and Medical Education, Government of Karnataka, inaugurated the Arogya City summit, to mark the start of a movement to reduce the growth of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the city. Led by Rotary (District 3190), Arogya World, and Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC), the effort calls upon the city’s corporates, entrepreneurs, NGOs and educational institutions to accept the challenge towards making Bengaluru India’s first Arogya City. Statements of support have been received from government entities as well.
Speaking at the Arogya City Summit, Dr. K Sudhakar, Hon’ble Minister for Health, Family Welfare and Medical Education, Government of Karnataka, said, “Non-Communicable Diseases are growing in Bengaluru at an alarming rate and recent surveys have pointed out that 25 percent of the city’s population are diabetic. Long working hours, a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits are at the root of this surge. The Arogya City initiative has come at the appropriate time and I am confident the movement will aid us in our fight against the problem of NCDs. The Government of Karnataka will extend every support to the Arogya City initiative to transform Bengaluru into India’s First Arogya City.”
The Arogya City campaign honours and celebrates the pioneering Pledgemakers who form a high-impact group, Champions20 (C20) for their commitment to this noble cause. They cover the following themes:
- Screening for NCDs (AI Health Highway, Biocon Foundation, Rotary District 3190, Social Alpha, RxDx)
- NCD Prevention and Control (Arogya World, Clinikk, Kempegowda International Airport, Swasti Health Catalyst, Wipro Cares)
- Advancing Mental Health (Mpower an initiative of Aditya Birla Education Trust, The Lalit Ashok)
- Increasing Physical Activity (Jayanagar Jaguars, Nexus Shantiniketan)
- Advancing Health of the Elderly (LVBL, Senior Ji, and Vayah Vikas)
- Youth Outreach (Agastya International Foundation, AstraZeneca Pharma India Limited, mLAC, and Mount Carmel College
Spurred by the campaign’s tagline, #ChallengeAccepted, this group will reach 500,000 citizens and help them tangibly improve their health.
Sharing her thoughts, Dr. Nalini Saligram, Founder and CEO, Arogya World, said, “NCDs are a challenge in our city. We congratulate the first of our Pledgemakers the C20 group for stepping up and Accepting the Challenge. Enhancing the health of our people will be a long-drawn process and we are committed to working towards transforming Bengaluru into India’s first Arogya City.”
Dr. Devi Shetty, noted cardiac surgeon and Chairman & Founder of Narayana Health, and one of the brand ambassadors of the campaign, said, “As a cardiac surgeon I ask myself every time if the patient needs an extensive medical procedure. Often, patients can avoid such situations by simply looking after their health through lifestyle changes- good diet, adequate physical activity and regular consultation with their doctor.”
Ashwini Nachappa, Arjuna Awardee, Former Olympian and Brand Ambassador, said, “Lifestyle diseases affect largely the younger population and that is a matter of great concern. The Arogya City effort heralds a collective movement to help the people of Bengaluru live healthy lives and prevent disease.”
Per a World Economic Forum (WEF) whitepaper from 2021, 43% of Bengalureans suffer from obesity, while a staggering 65% of the population does not indulge in meaningful physical activity. The report also corroborates the fact that Bengaluru is turning out to be the diabetes capital of the state, if not the country. It states that 22% of people in the city were diabetic. Not only do NCDs have an impact on the health of the city, but they can also have a devastating impact on personal financial security and the city’s economic growth. The Arogya City movement’s crux is the prevention and control of NCDs, and mental well-being, and leveraging technology for a healthier tomorrow. An art installation called ‘Heart of Junk’ at Nexus Malls, and a hoarding at Bangalore Airport are other campaign elements that are drawing the city’s attention.
Mr K Jairaj, (IAS Retd), Chairman, Advisory Committee, Arogya City Project, said, “Bengaluru is a progressive, forward looking city and I am glad this movement is starting here. I have high hopes for what this group of passionate leaders can achieve together.”
Rtn Jitendra Aneja, District Governor, Rotary 3190, said, “Getting different stakeholders to take ownership of health projects in the city is a brilliant idea and we at Rotary are keenly looking forward to making significant public health impact through our pledge.”Revathy Ashok, CEO, B.PAC said, “I am truly excited to see the number of pledges made by stakeholders showing their concern and commitment to improve the health of our citizens. It is a matter of great pride that Bengaluru is the first city in the country to launch the Arogya City initiative.”