Non-communicable Disease Treatment in Developing Countries
By admin October 5, 2015

insulinNon-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are defined as chronic diseases that are not transferable from person to person and fall under the following categories: Cardiovascular Disease, Pulmonary Disease, Cancers, and Diabetes. Although they are slow moving, their impact on overall fitness worldwide is immense. NCDs take 38 million lives each year, three quarters of these from low and middle-income countries. 16 million of those lives are taken before the age of seventy with 82% of that group also originating from low and middle-income countries. It is estimated the total economic loss from NCDs will reach $7 Trillion USD by 2030. Methods are available that allow sufferers a more prolonged life by keeping the more deleterious effects of their diseases at bay: inhalers, insulin, drug cocktails, and chemical therapies, are among such methods.

Yet, we struggle to adapt these methods for those with NCDs living in unstable or crisis environments. In these cases, access to a proper facility is uncertain. Constantly moving patients also make it difficult for available medical workers to maintain accurate records of their patient’s condition. This is a serious concern when regimented care is a vital aspect of one’s treatment. Furthermore, standard World Health Organization (WHO) mobile emergency primary health care units currently do not carry tools equipped for treating NCDs, leaving few options for individuals that do seek out assistance. Therefore, how can we mobilize a method of healthcare that, even in the global north, anchors itself in constant access to fixed facilities and medication supplies?

The World Health Organization is currently testing one alternative: NCD Emergency Kits. These kits include drugs for managing cardiovascular diseases, insulin & glucometers to manage diabetes, and asthma inhalers. The kits also includes training materials for field workers on diagnosing, treating, and following up with NCD patients during a crisis. WHO introduced these kits in early 2015 as a pilot in Ukraine, where civil unrest created inconsistencies in palliative care treatment for NCD patients. Individuals suffering from NCDs require regular maintenance of their symptoms in order to live. These kits are included in the Mobile Emergency Primary Healthcare Units, and are being used to offer health services to displaced individuals and communities whose access to hospitals have been compromised. The NCD Emergency Kits have proven to be so successful, with high demand from field workers treating patients with NCDs, that WHO is considering creating separate NCD Emergency Kits to be used beyond Ukraine.

Non-Communicable Diseases can stress growing healthcare systems in cost of care and maintenance. This reality, common in non-crisis environments, is exacerbated to the breaking point during emergencies. Alternative methods of NCD care, like WHO’s emergency kit must become more common, as both a means to alleviate pain during a crisis, and a way to reduce overall Global NCD burden.

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Thanks for sharing !

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