The Burden of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases in Developing Countries
Worldwide, developed and developing countries are facing the double burden of communicable and noncommunicable diseases. However, developing countries are more exposed and more vulnerable due to a multitude of factors, including geographic, demographic and socio-economic factors. Noncommunicable diseases like cardio-vascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and mental disorders are affecting developing countries with an increasing trend. In parallel, communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, acute respiratory infections and diarrheal disease are causing high mortality rates especially in low and middle income countries. Other diseases like the so-called neglected diseases are exclusively afflicting developing countries. Low-income countries are particularly affected by lymphatic filariasis, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, Buruli ulcer, cholera, cysticercosis, dracunculiasis, foodborne trematode infections, hydatidosis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis (ascariasis, trichuriasis, hookworm diseases), trachoma, sleeping sickness, onchocerciasis, Chagas disease, dengue and others. Beyond the high mortality and morbidity rates caused by communicable and/or noncommunicable diseases in developing countries, the global burden includes economic losses due to care for diseases and disabilities but also as a lack of productivity. More generally, communicable and noncommunicable diseases are impeding human development in developing countries by their negative impact on education, income and life expectancy and other health indicators. In sub-Saharan African countries, devastating consequences are already strikingly apparent in terms of life expectancy and human development index (HDI) in general.
A large part of the burden caused by noncommunicable diseases like cardio vascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity and others can be avoided by preventive measures, early diagnosis and detection and mainly by controlling risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, diet, and physical inactivity. Similarly, the impact of communicable diseases can be alleviated by efficient strategies, including affordability of treatments, development of new vaccines and medicines, improvement of environmental conditions and general incentives and sensitization.
KeywordsChronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Communicable Disease Lymphatic Filariasis Acute Respiratory Infection Sexually Transmitted Disease
List of Abbreviations:
acquired immune defense system
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
cardio vascular disease
disability adjusted life years
human development index
human immunodeficiency virus
severe acute respiratory syndrome
sexually transmitted disease
United Nations AIDS
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Organization
years lived with disability
years of life lost
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