By Stephen Leahy
Nov 26 (IPS) – Chronic, non-infectious diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes kill more than twice as many people than HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis, experts warn.
In the next 10 years, some 388 million people will die of these largely preventable diseases, which are caused mainly by smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise. Often thought to be diseases of the rich, most of these deaths will be in the developing world, conclude the authors of a study published in the journal Nature this month.
“We have a huge health crisis here that few policymakers and other officials are aware of,” said lead author Dr. Abdallah S. Daar of the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre in Toronto, Canada.
Developing countries, and medical and donor groups have focused almost entirely on infectious diseases, Daar told IPS. “But that’s like putting out one fire in a house burning from both ends,” he said.