David Watkins, a resident physician in the Department of Medicine and the Internal Medicine Global Health Pathway at the University of Washington, and Jim LoGerfo, a professor of Medicine and Global Health at the university, write in a Seattle Times opinion piece, “A new pandemic has emerged and is beginning to overshadow all others,” adding, “The chronic-disease pandemic will be the ‘face’ of global health in the coming decades … an insidious pandemic for those who are affected, causing slow and subtle declines in health over years.” They write, “In addition to providing cost-effective medicines for hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol, the prevention of cases will be our greatest challenge. Chronic diseases require large public-health interventions and improvements to primary health-care systems” (9/15).
Non Communicable Disease/Chronic Disease
“A group of public health organizations said on Friday they were concerned that industries selling fatty foods, alcohol and cigarettes could hijack a United Nations meeting on how to tackle chronic disease in order to protect their own interests,” Reuters reports. “In a letter to the Lancet medical journal, more than 140 international health organizations and campaign groups said the United Nations should ensure industry lobby groups are not able to manipulate the September 19-20 meeting and its outcome,” writing, “There are clear conflicts for the corporations that contribute to and profit from the sales of alcoholic beverages, foods with high fat, salt, and sugar contents, and tobacco products — all of which are important causes of [non-communicable diseases (NCDs)],” according to the news service (Kelland, 9/15).
“The number of cases and deaths from breast and cervical cancer is rising in most countries across the world, especially in poorer nations where more women are dying at younger ages, according to a global study of the diseases” by researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Reuters reports. Between 1980 and 2010, breast cancer cases more than doubled worldwide, rising from 641,000 cases in 1980 to 1.6 million cases in 2010, while deaths from breast cancer rose from 250,000 a year to 425,000 a year, according to the study, which was published in the Lancet on Thursday, Reuters notes. The “number of cervical cancer cases rose from 378,000 cases in 1980 to 454,000 in 2010, and deaths from cervical cancer rose at almost the same pace as cases,” the news service writes (Kelland, 9/15). The majority of new cases occurred among women under age 50 in low-income nations, BBC News writes (Briggs, 9/14).
In this Atlantic opinion piece, Amanda Glassman, director of Global Health Policy at the Center for Global Development (CGD), and Denizhan Duran, a research assistant at CGD, outline the macro- and microeconomic effects non-communicable diseases (NCDs) can have on countries and families, noting that “80 percent of NCD deaths occur in developing countries, mostly the middle-income countries.” However, they write that NCDs “can be substantially reduced with simple, low or no-cost interventions,” but “middle-income countries are not implementing these simple interventions at scale” for reasons that “have little to do with money.”
U.S.-based pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly and Company on Tuesday announced it will spend $30 million over five years to fight the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in developing nations, the Indianapolis Star reports (Swiatek, 9/13). According to a Lilly press release, the company is launching the Lilly NCD Partnership “to identify new models of patient care that increase treatment access and improve outcomes for underserved people” (9/13).
The WHO “published a report Wednesday showing the prevalence of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular illness around the world, along with countries’ abilities to cope with the growing number of people affected by them,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports (9/13). In the report, “the WHO said 36 million people died of chronic diseases in 2008, the most recent year for which data is available,” VOA News writes, adding, “More than a quarter of those people were less than 60 years old” (9/13). The report’s release coincides with the first U.N. summit on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which is scheduled to take place in New York September 19-20, the AP notes (9/13).
Toni Johnson, senior staff writer for the Council on Foreign Affairs, writes about global action on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in this backgrounder published by the organization on Monday. The piece includes an introduction about NCDs and their increasing burden in the developing world, and discusses the rise in global death rates due to…
George W. Bush Institute Forms Public-Private Partnership To Combat Cervical, Breast Cancers In Developing World
The George W. Bush Institute is forming a public-private partnership to use PEPFAR’s existing infrastructure of doctors, nurses and clinics to expand screening and treatment of women for cervical cancer and perform breast cancer education in the developing world, the Wall Street Journal reports. The goal of the partnership, which also includes the State Department, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and UNAIDS, “is to reduce the number of cervical cancer deaths by 25 percent in five years in countries where it scales up screening and treatment,” WSJ writes, adding, “Its initial investment will be $75 million.”
In this Huffington Post opinion piece outlining many facts and statistics surrounding non-communicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide, Susan Blumenthal, public health editor of the Huffington Post and former assistant surgeon general, along with Katherine Warren and Lauren Macherelli, who previously worked at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, where Blumenthal is director of the health and medicine program, write, “The world is at a crossroads when it comes to the chronic disease epidemic and its enormous health and economic impacts.”
U.N. member state representatives recently reached an agreement “on a political declaration document for the 19 September U.N. high-level meeting on the prevention and control of on non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” although the document is “somewhat watered down from an original version,” ScienceInsider reports (Reardon, 9/7). “The process has hit delays and setbacks, including resistance from some member countries to setting hard targets for reducing disease,” according to the PBS Newshour blog “The Rundown” (Miller, 9/7).