Launch of the Chronic Disease Report
Honourable Minister Faugoo,
Mr S. Taukoordass,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. I am delighted today to launch this new WHO global report: Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment. It's my pleasure to share with you the overall messages and key findings of this report today.
This report is very timely: in Mauritius, chronic diseases are a major health problem. They accounted for 86% of all deaths in 2002. I welcome the range of initiatives taken by the Ministry of Health to address this urgent issue.
2. Globally, an estimated 58 million people died in 2005.
35 million of these deaths were as a result of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. This means that 60% of all deaths in 2005 were due to chronic diseases.
This is double the number of deaths from all infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria), maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined.
3. The majority of deaths worldwide for all ages are due to chronic diseases. Cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke) are responsible for 30% of all deaths. Addressing cardiovascular disease is a priority here in Mauritius.
Globally, the contribution of diabetes is underestimated. Although people may live for years with diabetes, their deaths are usually recorded as being caused by heart disease or kidney failure.
4. The causes of the main chronic disease epidemics are well established and well known.
The most important modifiable risk factors are:
- unhealthy diet and excessive energy intake;
- physical inactivity;
- tobacco use.
These causes are expressed through the intermediate risk factors of raised blood pressure, raised glucose levels, abnormal blood lipids, and overweight (BMI ≥ 25) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30). 5. These maps tell us that without action, the prevalence of overweight in adult women will significantly increase over the next 10 years.
Mauritius is part of this trend. By 2015 it is estimated that over two thirds of adult women will be overweight and one half of adult men. Globally, by that date, over 1.5 billion people will be overweight.
Deaths from chronic diseases are projected to increase over the same period. Statistical projections show that 64 million people will die in 2015; 41 million (64%) of them will die from chronic diseases. This is a 17% increase in chronic disease deaths from 2005 to 2015.
6. The burden of chronic disease has major adverse effects on the quality of life of affected individuals. It causes premature death and creates large adverse – and underappreciated – economic effects on families, communities and societies in general.
Chronic diseases undermine the macroeconomic development of many countries. This slide shows how countries could forego billions in national income over the next 10 years as a result of premature deaths caused by heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
7. Without action, an estimated 388 million people will die from chronic diseases in the next 10 years. Many of these deaths will occur prematurely, affecting families, communities, and countries.
8. 80% of chronic disease deaths are in low and middle income countries. These countries are dealing with both infectious diseases, and, in many cases also experiencing a rapid upsurge in chronic disease risk factors and deaths, especially in urban settings.
Roberto Severino Campos lives in a shanty town on the outskirts of Sao Paulo in Brazil. He is disabled by multiple strokes, unable to work, and entirely dependant on his family to survive. The whole Campos family have fallen into a downward spiral of worsening impoverishment.
9. Almost half of chronic diseases occur prematurely, in people under 70 years of age. One quarter of all chronic disease deaths occur in people under 60 years of age.
Mariam from the United Republic of Tanzania is only 13 years old and she is battling bone cancer. Despite this terrible ordeal, Mariam remembers how to smile and is optimistic that she will be cured. Unfortunately, without the necessary facilities and treatment her future looks very uncertain.
10. Chronic diseases, including heart disease, affect women and men almost equally. Some 3.6 million women are estimated to have died from coronary heart disease in 2005. More than eight out of 10 of these deaths occurred in low and middle income countries.
Shakeela Begum, now 65 years old, had a heart attack 10 years ago. For financial reasons, Shakeela does not buy a sufficient amount of medication and therefore does not take the prescribed dose.
11. Childhood overweight and obesity is a rising global problem. About 22 million children aged under five years are overweight. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents – previously unheard of – have begun to mount worldwide.
Individual responsibility is important but governments and societies must provide supportive environments, where healthy choices are easy and accessible.
12. Sridhar's many years of tobacco and alcohol use ultimately led to cancer. Sadly, Sridhar died only a short time after he was interviewed.
Each year, around 5 million people die as a result of tobacco use.
13. The target for the global goal is an additional 2% annual reduction in chronic diseases death rates over the next 10 years to 2015.
A full range of chronic disease interventions are very cost-effective for all regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these solutions are also inexpensive to implement.
The scientific knowledge to achieve this goal already exists.
14. Pursuing this global goal would result in 36 million chronic disease deaths averted by 2015.
Almost half of the averted deaths would be in men and women under 70 years of age Almost nine out of 10 of these would be in low and middle income countries.
15. The averted deaths would also translate into substantial labour supply gains.
16. Chronic diseases can be prevented and controlled using available knowledge. The most successful strategies use a range of population-wide interventions, combined with interventions for individuals.
Comprehensive and integrated action is required and needs to be started straightaway, taking first whatever steps are feasible.
17. In many ways, we are the heirs of the choices that were made by previous generations: politicians, business leaders, financiers, and ordinary people. Future generations will in turn be affected by the decisions that we make today.
Each of us has a choice: whether to continue with the status quo, or to take up the challenge and invest now in chronic disease prevention.