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PRI’s ‘The World’ Examines Hypertension In Developing World

PRI’s “The World” examines the issue of hypertension in the developing world, noting “[a] recently published study shows that, globally, high blood pressure causes more early deaths than any other preventable risk factor, including smoking, obesity, and childhood malnutrition.” The news service highlights Cambodia as an example, noting “high blood pressure is less common here than in the U.S. — about 11 percent of adults in Cambodia have it, compared with 31 percent in America. But the prevalence is rising much faster in Cambodia than in the U.S.” The news service notes many with the disease go undiagnosed due to a lack of symptoms and because “the average doctor in Cambodia is more attuned to treating infections and trauma than chronic, everyday diseases.” The news service continues, “Even when patients are diagnosed with hypertension, they may still go untreated.”

“On a global level, charities and donor governments have historically paid little attention to non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, in developing countries. Funding has generally gone to improve maternal and child health, and to fight infectious diseases,” according to “The World.” However, “there is evidence that the ship is beginning to turn,” the news service writes, noting, “At the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva this May, nations of the world called for greater attention to non-communicable diseases. And in Cambodia, the government has begun working with the World Bank, USAID, and other organizations on a health system that emphasizes diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases” (Silberner, 9/3).