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Copenhagen Consensus Report Argues For Addressing Chronic, NCDs In Developing Countries

In the second part of a series of Slate articles highlighting issues being examined by the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Bjorn Lomborg, director of the center, examines the global burden of non-communicable diseases, which “receiv[e] the smallest amount of donor assistance of all health conditions, having lost ground since 1990 relative to infectious diseases,” he writes. “In a research paper released today on chronic disease, Prabhat Jha and a team of researchers argue that chronic diseases already pose a substantial economic burden, and this burden will evolve into a staggering one over the next two decades,” according to Lomborg.

“Jha and his team argue that addressing chronic disease in poor countries requires a rethinking of developmental assistance and possibly new delivery approaches,” and they outline “five key priority interventions where the costs are relatively low compared to the benefits,” Lomborg writes. The interventions include increasing taxes on tobacco products; using low-cost drugs to prevent heart attack; creating a “generic risk pill” that would help lower the risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure; reducing salt consumption; and vaccinating against hepatitis B infection, he notes (4/30).