A tsunami is looming on the horizon and the world is unprepared for it. This one won’t be a massive wall of water but a tidal wave of disease – and experts say the international community needs to act fast to keep it from crashing.
“Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – cancer, heart disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, among others – have become the leading cause of death worldwide,” Jeffrey Sturchio, senior partner at the U.S.-based consulting firm Rabin Martin, told a conference organised by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) on World Cancer Day in Geneva.
“Some 36 million people die from (NCDs) every year, 80 percent of them in low and middle income countries – a figure that will increase by 17 percent in the coming years and by 25 percent in Africa,” he added.
Tuberculosis and malaria, in comparison, kill one to two million people around the world every year.
“The disease burden is shifting to NCDs, but since developing countries still have to fight infectious diseases, they face a double burden,” Sturchio warned.
However, developing countries do not appear to be paying adequate attention to the impending crisis.