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 September 30, 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 September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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