Health Desk- 02 July, 2020: Prevention and treatment services for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have been severely disrupted since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a WHO survey released on recently.
The survey, which was completed by 155 countries during a 3-week period in May, confirmed that the impact is global, but that low-income countries are most affected.
This situation is of significant concern because people living with NCDs are at higher risk of severe COVID-19-related illness and death.
“The results of this survey confirm what we have been hearing from countries for a number of weeks now,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.
“Many people who need treatment for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have not been receiving the health services and medicines they need since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It’s vital that countries find innovative ways to ensure that essential services for NCDs continue, even as they fight COVID-19.”
The main finding is that health services have been partially or completely disrupted in many countries. More than half (53%) of the countries surveyed have partially or completely disrupted services for hypertension treatment; 49% for treatment for diabetes and diabetes-related complications; 42% for cancer treatment, and 31% for cardiovascular emergencies.
Mentionable, noncommunicable diseases kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
Each year, 15 million people die from an NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; more than 85% of these "premature" deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.