Poorer countries ‘could gain $350bn’ by tackling chronic diseases

17 May 18

The world’s poorest countries could gain $350bn by 2030 by investing more in preventing and treating chronic diseases, according to the World Health Organization.

For every $1 extra invested in fighting conditions such as heart disease and cancer there would be a return to society of at least $7 in increased employment, productivity and longer life, a report launched on Wednesday said.

The report indicated that by investing $1.27 per person per year,  $350bn could be generated through averted health costs and increased productivity by 2030 in the 78  countries classified as low and lower-middle income.

Michael Bloomberg, WHO global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases, said: “NDC’s impose huge economic costs that fall heaviest on the low-and middle-income countries that can least afford them.

“This report makes the case for bold action against NDCs from a business perspective, and it outlines some of the most effective ways to reduce their toll, which can help to direct more resources where they are needed the most.”

The report said reducing the rates of chronic diseases would benefit not only the health of people across the world and the wealth of poorer countries but could also boost the global economy.

Non-communicable diseases are the world’s leading causes of ill health and death, the organisation said. These also include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and mental disorders.

Global funding for these diseases is “severely limited”, receiving less than 2% of all health funding, WHO said.

For every $1 invested in each policy area, the following returns have been documented:
- $12.82 from promoting healthy diets
- $9.13 from reducing the harmful use of alcohol
- $7.43 from lower tobacco use
- $3.29 from providing drug therapy for cardiovascular disease
- $2.80 from increasing physical activity
- $2.74 from managing cancer

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