In a recent report, the World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed non-communicable diseases as the number one killer throughout the world. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease, have over an 80 percent occurrence rate in low-income countries and poverty-stricken regions, specifically.
The WHO also estimates that 63 percent of all deaths in 2008 were caused by NCDs, with 25 percent of those people being younger than 60 years old.
In a related study, Harvard University found that each extra year of life expectancy can raise a country’s GDP by nearly 4 percent, adding to the belief that NCDs help facilitate the spread of poverty and hinder development and economic growth. Although much has been done in industrialized countries to combat these diseases, the lack of health infrastructure throughout the developing world makes it very difficult to consistently provide the proper treatment to each individual affected by NCDs.
A “roadmap” to fight NCDs around the world, published by Johns Hopkins University, recommends that it is imperative for the private and public sectors to work together in order to find efficient solutions to tackling NCDs across the globe, especially in poverty-stricken countries. It also asserts that health infrastructure in low-income countries needs to be consistent and standardized in order to avoid building “systems that are complex, duplicative and inefficient.”
The roadmap also recommends a higher level of cooperation between pharmaceutical companies and regulatory institutions in order to streamline the process of approving selected treatments, and highlights the need for pharmaceutical companies to play a larger role in building “partnerships with communities and governments.”
– Christina Kindlon