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Making health accessible and affordable | Published 01.24.11

Davos Diary: Behind the scenes at the World Economic Forum's annual ideas fest

Source: Washington Post

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As a Young Global Leader and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Advisory Board, I’m lucky to have a bit of an inside track on the agenda for Davos this year. As usual, health’s a hot topic. But unlike in years past, the focus will be on an entirely new aspect of this global challenge.

Non-communicable diseases – such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic respiratory disease -- were once considered to be a problem for high-income countries alone. Yet these diseases now account for more deaths than HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea and all other communicable diseases combined. What is even more concerning is that the incidence is rising dramatically in low- and middle-income countries, and by 2030, non-communicable diseases are expected to account for more than 75 percent of all deaths worldwide.

This has staggering economic implications -- countries such as China, India and the Russian Federation are estimated to lose $23 billion to $53 billion annually as a result of only three of these diseases: heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Interventions to combat obesity and curtail tobacco use can help avert this disaster, but resources are already overstretched.

So what’s the message of the forum? Integration.

Read the complete blog entry at Washington Post's Davos Diary. "Making health accessible and affordable" is the first in a series of three blogs by PSI's Kate Roberts and Karl Hofmann about WEF Davos.

Kate Roberts leads the Corporate Marketing and Communications Departments of PSI. Kate is the founder and executive director of YouthAIDS and Five & Alive, two marketing programs of PSI. Prior to her role at PSI, Roberts worked with Bates, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

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