Regional Modifications Make Prevention Programs against Diseases More Effective
There was a time that contagious diseases were the cause of massive killings of human race. Worldwide mortality due to diseases like Tuberculosis and Malaria was high but in the last 20 years, the graph of death toll due to contagious disease has dropped due to development of better medical care which provides a guideline for prevention, cure, treatment options and vaccination. Hence the life expectancy is more but still men and women are living more years with either disease or getting prone to life threatening diseases or mental illnesses. According to a survey by W.H.O (2011-updated July 2013) and GBD (global burden of disease), Ischemic heart disease is the number one cause responsible for (7 million) deaths, followed by stroke (6.2 million), COPD (3 million), AIDS/HIV(1.6), lung cancers( 1.5 million) and Diabetes Mellitus (1.4 million) deaths.
These are among 6 out of top 10 diseases causing a sum of 20.7 million deaths out of 54.6 million deaths, responsible for 38% deaths globally. If we take a look at the analysis of survey done in 2000, the situation is not different as these diseases are still occupying the same position whereas Tuberculosis which was the 8th disease in order of top death toll diseases in 2000 is now the 13th according to the survey in 2011. Hence, it can be concluded that the present structure has failed to prevent and limit the number of deaths caused by chronic diseases and more additions are required to get rid of the present situation. Other factors are also responsible in addition to the causative agent including genetics, modifiable/non-modifiable risk factors, habitual and culture.
The diagnosis and treatment of these diseases is expensive, lengthy and difficult to be made available to mass population. In this situation, the high-income countries are more able to tackle the situation providing health insurance to their citizens unlike low-income countries where people have unhealthy food and limited health services plus the cost of treatment of chronic diseases force millions of people towards poverty causing developmental derailing. Predicting the causative factor and providing awareness: the story does not end here. For this, a framework must be formulated which includes regional based study of each area keeping cultural, ethical and literacy level in mind.
For example, the same road map cannot be applied for Africans and America as the epidemiology of AIDS is different in both regions and the health status as well. A program named ABC (abstinence, be faithful, use a condom) strategy was launched in order to prevent against AIDS. It was welcomed in the United States whereas in Kenya, a survey of 1,400 teens was done and the result showed that many were confused about ABC messages and half could not correctly define abstinence and the importance of the message thus leading it to absolute failure program. In the same way, the stomach cancer which causes 800,000 deaths per year, is the leading cancer type in Korea and is associated with the intake of salted sea food e.g.processed fish which is the main component of Korean diet.
Therefore, the preventive measures include less intake of processed food and more intake of green vegetables to reduce carcinogens. The implementation of this information can transform their culture but at the same time can be helpful in eradicating cancer. It is also important that the preventive program and treatment should be accessible to every citizen providing adequate knowledge so that they can prevent themselves and report in case of having specific symptoms. It should be approachable to every citizen.
Providing physical and mental support by treating the body as well as stabilizing mental health by preventing the patient from being in a depressed state of mind is also necessary. At last, the additional impact in decreasing the graph of chronic diseases rather than keeping it at a static point should be measured in order to determine the success rate of a program in a particular region. Chronic diseases are global problem and should be eradicated in a structural manner.
1-Top ten diseases causing death in the world (2000 &2011) source http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/
2-ABC program in Kenya source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abstinence,_be_faithful,_use_a_condom
3- Stomach cancers in Korea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stomach_cancer
About the Author: Sana Sohail Anwari is a medical student currently studying in 4th year M.B.B.S and wants to work further in field of research and preventive medicine. She can be reached at [email protected]
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