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Who Calls for Action on Chronic Diseases

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WHO calls for action on chronic diseases, was an article written by Uta Harnischfeger from the associated press and published in the Honolulu Advertiser on Sunday, October 2, 2005. The article describes some of the World Health Organization (WHO) concerns over the expected increase in death within the next decade due to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic ailments.

The WHO had determined that in the past, HIV/AIDS has overshadowed chronic ailments even when studies have proven that there are more deaths due to chronic ailments. The WHO has determined that nearly 400 million people will be killed over the next 10 years due to unhealthy lifestyles and the lack of medication. They believe that 39 million of these deaths can be prevented if countries took a more active role in promoting health lifestyles and providing inexpensive medication.

This report is important because it is the first study to project the toll from all major chronic conditions. It is also the first report to estimate the economic burden of treating these chronic ailments in individual countries. For example, China could spend $558 billion to treat these ailments and India could spend $236 billion.

I found this article to be very interesting for two reasons; 1) the death toll rate and 2) the economic burden figures. I found the number for the death toll to be very interesting. I would never figure that there was more death due to chronic illness than HIV/AIDS. Personally, I feel that in the recent years the reason for the focus on HIV/AIDS is because it was a new disease and scary disease. However, thinking about heart disease and diabetes, could it be that people have became lazy over the years and a healthy lifestyles takes to much effort to achieve and maintain? Is it easier to go start to McDonalds than cook a home cook meat at home? Is it an economics? Is it cheaper to eat fast food than to shop at a local market and make a meal?

I found the economic breakdown for each country to be unbelievably high. The fact that China could possible spend $558 billion to treat heart disease, stroke and diabetes over the next decade is a real eye opener. That is over $55 billion a year for the next 10 years. Has the WHO created an estimate of the economic savings each country could possible save if they implemented a healthier lifestyle?



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