This emerging epidemic of neurologic disability will place an immense burden on Indian society as a whole. Neurologic impairment is among the leading causes of disability-adjusted life years (DALY), an indicator of overall disease burden expressed as the number of years lost due to ill health, disability, or early death. In other words, while the overall life expectancy in India is increasing, the overall quality of life will be diminished by the increasing prevalence and duration of neurologic disability.
There will also be immense direct and indirect economic costs. Currently, the annual cost of dementia-related care in India is INR 160 billion ($3.2 billion USD).4
Although similar estimates of the cost of TBI-related disability are not available, the economic loss due to RTA was estimated at nearly INR 550 billion every year or nearly 3% of India's GDP in 2000.2
India had 3,28,466 RTAs with 80,118 deaths in 2000. The reported death due to RTA has doubled in a decade, with 161,736 deaths from 4,61,757 RTAs in 2010. As a significant amount of this cost will be due to TBI-related societal costs, we expect it to be doubled over the last decade, when counting in increase in RTA from 2000 to 2010. Currently there are no available data on cost of stroke-related disability in India. Although it is difficult to accurately estimate the overall economic cost of neurologic disabilities in India, neurologic disabilities are known causes of economic burden the world over. Globally, the annual cost of dementia alone has been estimated to be $604 billion USD for 2010 (1.01% of world GDP).4
Therefore, the total cost for all neurologic disabilities is likely to cause a significant dent in Indian GDP.
In India, family members provide most of the care of disabled persons.4
A disproportionate amount of this economic burden, therefore, will be borne directly by individuals and their families. Studies have shown that almost two-thirds of low income families in India resorted to the sale of family assets or incur loans to support the care of a neurologically disabled family member, and over 90% reported ceasing involvement in paid work or education to provide care.2
Therefore, the burden of neurologic disability in India is likely to be disproportionately experienced by the poor.