Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New strategies needed to combat disease in developing countries

Date:
September 20, 2012
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
So-called lifestyle diseases are gaining ground with epidemic speed in low-income countries. The traditional health focus in these countries has been to combat communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. However, new research suggests that dividing campaigns into combating either non-communicable or communicable diseases is ineffective and expensive.

So-called lifestyle diseases are gaining ground with epidemic speed in low-income countries. The traditional health focus in these countries has been to combat communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. However, research from the University of Copenhagen suggests that dividing campaigns into combating either non-communicable or communicable diseases is ineffective and expensive.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Copenhagen

So-called lifestyle diseases are gaining ground with epidemic speed in low-income countries. The traditional health focus in these countries has been to combat communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. However, research from the University of Copenhagen suggests that dividing campaigns into combating either non-communicable or communicable diseases is ineffective and expensive.

A new article by Danish scientists published in the journal Science provides an overview.

A prognosis from WHO in 2002 indicates that by 2030, we can expect the relationship between non-communicable and communicable diseases to have shifted so that non-communicable diseases are the most common cause of death in the world's poorest countries. The shift is anticipated due to longer lifespan as well as increased urbanisation in low-income countries: "This development means that 57% of the world's deaths in 2030 will be due to the major non-communicable killers we know from the developed world: cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, diabetes and many types of cancer," explains Professor Ib Bygbjerg from the Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen.

Ignoring new research

In 2011 the UN member countries drew up a political declaration on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. And even though it was a large step forward for the UN to put non-communicable disease on the agenda, the situation is still problematic, according to Professor Bygbjerg: "The declaration continued an unfortunate tradition of dividing campaigns into communicable and non-communicable diseases. This practice ignores many new research results showing, among other things, that many types of cancer are caused by viral infections, while communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, for example, can only be fought effectively by also looking at tobacco and alcohol consumption," states Ib Bygbjerg.

In the article published in Science, Professor Bygbjerg gives several examples of the necessity of having a joint campaign against communicable and non-communicable diseases. The simplest example is probably that since we know that diabetes increases the risk of tuberculosis -- just as tuberculosis can bring on or exacerbate diabetes -- why do we try to combat them separately?

"Naturally the main idea is that since we know that patients often suffer from several diseases, and that various diseases and their treatments influence each other, it is pointless to continue to develop large health programmes that only focus on fighting one single disease," continues Ib Bygbjerg.

Integrated health programmes are the key

We can kill several birds with one stone by focusing on known common risk factors, such as poor nutrition, and developing strategies that integrate efforts to combat diabetes and tuberculosis, for example.

Stimulated by Danish support, China, India and other countries with major diabetes and tuberculosis problems have begun developing integrated health programmes with double-screening for these diseases. However, in many other cases, structural problems have prevented this type of integration.

"Researchers, healthcare workers and politicians are often forced to meet short-term results contracts as part of 'new public management'. This practice can easily turn efforts to deal with current and impending health problems into a battlefield over money needed to combat one disease or another, instead of addressing the actual double burden of communicable and non-communicable disease that will be borne by the large populations in developing countries, now and in future," concludes Professor Ib Bygbjerg.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "New strategies needed to combat disease in developing countries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920141149.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2012, September 20). New strategies needed to combat disease in developing countries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920141149.htm
University of Copenhagen. "New strategies needed to combat disease in developing countries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920141149.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins