News / Africa

Cancer, Heart Disease, Other Non-Communicable Diseases on Rise in Developing World

TEXT SIZE - +

The World Health Organization reports non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancers now are more prevalent in developing countries than in the richer countries.  WHO is hosting the first Global Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases to map out strategies for combating this growing danger.  

The World Health Organization warns the problem of non-communicable diseases in the developing world is big and growing bigger.  It says diseases once thought of as diseases of the rich now have shifted to the poor and disadvantaged.  

WHO director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan, says people in low and middle-income countries are increasingly getting sick and dying from heart disease and stroke, cancers, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and mental disorders.

She says poor countries can ill afford to pay the costs of chronic care.

"Developing countries-they are still struggling with infectious diseases and weak health systems," she said.  They face grossly inadequate numbers of staff, shortages of medicines and funds, and a sometimes total lack of insurance schemes to protect patients from catastrophic health care costs.  Weaknesses in public health services drive patients to the most costly, often unregulated private sector, even for routine care."  

The World Health Organization reports 40 percent of the estimated 35 million yearly deaths from non-communicable diseases is premature.  It says many deaths from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and asthma are preventable.

Dr. Chan notes many people also suffer from diseases such as diabetes and asthma that often require life-long care.  She notes these diseases are not part of the ageing process.  

She says they often begin in childhood.  She says hypertension and some cancers also can occur in children and young adults.

"Moreover, this is a world in which an estimated 43 million pre-school children are obese or overweight.  Think of what this means in terms of life-long risks to their health and the life-long costs of care.  And, one other thought, this could be the first generation of children…in a very long time, that has a life expectancy shorter than that of their parents," she said.   

Dr. Chan cites tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and the harmful use of alcohol as the four big risk factors.  She says many of the diseases caused by these factors can be prevented through changes in life style.

She urges countries to enact measures that make it easier for people to adopt healthy lifestyles.  She says non-communicable diseases can be managed, treated and sometimes cured.  But, prevention, she says is likely to bring the greatest gains.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid