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Home - Global Challenges -Global Health

Global Health

Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World: A Critical Challenge to Achieve Global Health
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), once thought to be confined primarily to industrialized nations, has emerged as a major health threat in developing countries. Cardiovascular disease now accounts for nearly 30 percent of deaths in low and middle income countries each year, and is accompanied by significant economic repercussions. Yet most governments, global health institutions, and development agencies have largely overlooked CVD as they have invested in health in developing countries. In the report, Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World(2010), the IOM recommends that the NHLBI, development agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and governments work toward two essential goals: creating environments that promote heart healthy lifestyle choices and help reduce the risk of chronic diseases; and building public health infrastructure and health systems with the capacity to implement programs that will effectively detect and reduce risk and manage CVD. To meet these goals, the IOM recommends several steps, including improving cooperation and collaboration; implementing effective and feasible strategies; and informing efforts through research and health surveillance. Without better efforts to promote cardiovascular health, global health as a whole will be undermined.

Country-Level Decision Making for Control of Chronic Diseases
A 2010 IOM report, Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World, found that not only is it possible to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease and related chronic diseases in developing countries, but also that such a reduction will be critical to achieving global health and development goals. As part a series of follow-up activities to the 2010 report, the IOM held a workshop that aimed to identify what is needed to create tools for country-led planning of effective, efficient, and equitable provision of chronic disease control programs. In 2012, a Workshop Summary was published to summarize the discussion at the workshop.

Scaling Up Treatment for the Global AIDS Pandemic
An estimated forty million people carry the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and five million more become newly infected annually. In recent years, many HIV-infected patients in wealthy nations have enjoyed significantly longer, good-quality lives as a result of antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, most infected individuals live in the poorest regions of the world, where ART is virtually nonexistent. The consequent death toll in these regions--especially sub-Saharan Africa--is begetting economic and social collapse. The report, Scaling Up Treatment for the Global AIDS Pandemic (2005), aims to inform the multiple efforts underway to deploy antiretroviral drugs in resource-poor settings. It was also asked to identify the components of effective implementation programs.

The Impact of Globalization on Infectious Disease Emergence and Control
As transborder mobility of humans, animals, food, and feed products increases, so does the threat of the spread of dangerous pathogens and infectious diseases. Although the burden is greatest for the developing world, infectious diseases are a growing threat to all nations. However, the same globalizing forces that create such rampant opportunity for pathogens can also provide mechanisms for innovative, global efforts to control infectious diseases. A new network of international public health partners is emerging. The Workshop Summary: The Impact of Globalization on Infectious Disease Emergence and Control (2006) summarizes the impact of globalization on patterns of disease emergence, identifies opportunities, and examines scientific evidence supporting current and potential global strategies for countering the effects of globalization on infectious diseases.

Saving Lives, Buying Time
Each year, the mosquito-borne disease malaria causes over one million deaths per year in sub-Saharan Africa—most of them children under the age of five. The study Saving Lives, Buying Time: Economics of Malaria Drugs in an Age of Resistance (2004) examines the history of malaria treatments, provides an overview of the current drug crisis, and offers recommendations on maximizing access to and effectiveness of antimalarial drugs.

Preventing Obesity in Children and Youth of Mexican Origin
U.S. and Mexican researchers, public health officials, industry leaders, and policy makers met at the joint Workshop on Preventing Obesity in Children and Youth of Mexican Origin and discussed commonalities and differences in the United States and Mexico regarding risk factors for obesity, potential interventions and programs, and the need for all sectors to collaborate and make progress toward solving this serious public health problem. This dialogue served as a basis to explore a binational agenda for addressing this epidemic.Get the free workshop report.

Cancer Control Opportunities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Cancer is low or absent on the health agendas of low- and middle-income countries (LMCs) despite the fact that more people die from cancer in these countries than from AIDS and malaria combined. International health organizations, bilateral aid agencies, and major foundations—which are instrumental in setting health priorities—have largely ignored cancer in these countries. The study Cancer Control Opportunities in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (2007) identifies feasible, affordable steps for LMCs and their international partners to begin to reduce the cancer burden for current and future generations. 

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