Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Developing countries face 'leading medical scourge of developed countries'

Date:
February 20, 2014
Source:
The Hastings Center
Summary:
Chronic illness, already a major and expensive problem in developed countries, is rapidly increasing in developing countries, adding to the longstanding burden caused by high rates of infectious diseases. However, poor countries will not be able to afford the costly medical technologies that wealthy countries use to treat chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, pulmonary disease, and diabetes, while also .

Chronic illness, already a major and expensive problem in developed countries, is rapidly increasing in developing countries, adding to the longstanding burden caused by high rates of infectious diseases. However, poor countries will not be able to afford the costly medical technologies that wealthy countries use to treat chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, pulmonary disease, and diabetes, writes Daniel Callahan, cofounder of The Hastings Center.

Related Articles


Callahan examines this trend and concludes that it calls for a new, more economically sustainable model of medicine, which he proposes in an article in the Brown Journal of World Affairs.

The causes of the increase in chronic disease in developing countries are changing diets, particularly an increase in meat and processed food consumption, alcohol consumption, smoking, and less physical activity. But chronic illness in these areas has some distinctive characteristics. For one, it is common to find obesity -- a major contributor to chronic disease -- and malnutrition in the same families. And chronic illness typically begins about a decade earlier than in developed countries.

"The emergence of chronic disease in developing countries is a 'turning point' because they are facing a confrontation with the same kinds of economic pressures that now bedevil developed countries," Callahan writes. But addressing this problem will be even more difficult for the developing countries because of increasing inequities, such as poor access to health care, poverty and economic insecurity, and lack of educational opportunities.

"Chronic disease will only add to the existing inequities," he writes. "Chronic disease treatment is usually expensive, and the rich in poor countries are likely to have better access to it."

Callahan challenges the conventional health policy approach to chronic illness pursued in wealthy countries and particularly in the United States, which assumes that it is simply a matter of finding better ways of organizing and managing health care. Totally neglected is the model of medicine underlying that care. "That model values unlimited medical research and technological innovation: there is no such thing as enough health or medical progress. More, always more," says Callahan. "But it is just that model that driving up health costs here and all the less helpful to poor countries. It is the goals of medicine itself that most needs reform."

He proposes a new set of goals for medicine, applicable to both rich and poor countries, which he calls "sustainable medicine." It is a) affordable for a country in the long run; b) no longer open-ended in its life-extending aspirations, aiming instead for a limited but acceptable population-based average length of life; c) able to keep annual health care costs at the level of the country's annual gross domestic product growth, and d) can be equitably distributed.

"Nothing less than a revolution, one that overthrows the tyranny of an economically and socially unsustainable model of medicine based on a vision of endless progress and technological innovation, is increasingly needed," Callahan concludes. "It will seek to institute a more modest vision, one that accepts the inherent finitude of human life. It will not allow health care to trump all other human goods."

Access to the abstract of the report can be found at: http://www.bjwa.org/article.php?id=brFfAaL1gsmEeD319xHI37Bdcfa4xrC2mb2I41LN


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

The Hastings Center. "Developing countries face 'leading medical scourge of developed countries'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220161310.htm>.
The Hastings Center. (2014, February 20). Developing countries face 'leading medical scourge of developed countries'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220161310.htm
The Hastings Center. "Developing countries face 'leading medical scourge of developed countries'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220161310.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
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


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

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