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Chronic Diseases in Developing and Newly Industrialized Countries: A new challenge for Global Health

Chronic Diseases in Developing and Newly Industrialized Countries: A new challenge for Global Health

Basel, 10th November 2009. 8th Symposium of the Medicus Mundi Switzerland Network. Death rates caused by infectious diseases have been overtaken by chronic diseases in all parts of the world except southern Africa. Chronic diseases can no longer be regarded as a problem that is exclusive to the developed world.

Many people in Switzerland regard chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular illnesses as lifestyle diseases. The fact that they are becoming an increasing problem in developing and newly industrialized countries is a fact ignored not only by the public at large but also by development aid organizations.

Commonest cause of death

Chronic diseases represent a major challenge for developing and newly industrialized countries and a growing burden to their healthcare systems, which are primarily geared to combating diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis or HIV and AIDS.

Chronic diseases are already the commonest cause of death in Asia, Latin America, the European transition economies and urban Africa. They are affecting a growing number of young people, including children, who are afflicted by various chronic conditions caused by malnutrition and lack of exercise.

Major challenges

This presents major challenges not only for the affected countries, but also for international health policy and non-governmental organizations involved in health cooperation.

This is reason enough to debate the subject with specialists from non-governmental development organizations, government and research and with representatives of international organizations. It also affords an opportunity to share experience and discover approaches to resolving the problems.

Swiss Health Cooperation Symposium organized by Medicus Mundi Switzerland. Online documentation available now. Conference reader: Bulletin of Medicus Mundi Switzerland 115, February 2010.

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