Print Download PDF Embed

News Release

Calls for cooperation to fight chronic disease

  • 35 million people die every year due to chronic diseases
  • Chronic disease is no longer a “rich man’s” burden: more than 80% of deaths are in the developing world
  • There is a fundamental injustice as many of these deaths are preventable
  • More information on the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011: http://www.weforum.org

Davos, Switzerland, 27 January 2011 – With success comes chronic disease. Or so it seems, as developing countries struggle with one of the consequences of rising wealth and economic success: the devastating toll of diabetes, cancer, lung and heart disease.

“Chronic disease causes 6 out of every 10 deaths worldwide,” said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations. It is no longer just a rich man’s problem; more than 80% of these deaths occur in developing countries. However, only 3% of development assistance goes to chronic diseases. “To fix the priorities, we must place non-communicable disease high on the development agenda.”

Industry has a strong role to play. Addressing the pharmaceutical industry, Ban Ki-moon urged more collaboration on drug development for low-income countries. He also called on the food industry to reduce sugar, sodium and transfat content as well as restricting advertising to children.

Executives from the food and pharmaceutical industry agreed, and committed to closer collaboration than ever with government and non-governmental organizations.

One exciting development is in the field of telehealth and mobile medicine, where high mobile telephone penetration in the developing world can be used for prevention and health promotion. “This is already happening for treatment of diabetes and detecting cardiac arrhythmia – it is not a pipe dream”, said Paul E. Jacobs, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm.

Julio Frenk, Dean, Harvard School of Public Health, urged world leaders to recognize the “enormous injustice” that diseases killing in poor countries are prevented from killing in rich countries. “We must learn from the successful HIV/AIDs movement, which overcame entrenched myths that the disease was too complex, costly and commonplace to prevent.”

Notes to Editors
For more information about the Annual Meeting 2011: http://wef.ch/Davos2011
Watch interviews with top leaders about the Davos agenda at http://wef.ch/DavosInterviews
View the best pictures from the Annual Meeting on Flickr at http://wef.ch/pix
Watch live webcasts of the sessions on Livestream at http://wef.ch/live
Watch the sessions on demand on YouTube at http://wef.ch/youtube or http://wef.ch/youku
Ask a world leader on YouTube at http://wef.ch/davosdebates
Become a fan of the Forum on Facebook at http://wef.ch/facebook
Follow the Forum on Twitter at http://wef.ch/twitter and http://wef.ch/livetweet
Check in with the Forum on Foursquare at http://wef.ch/foursquare
Read the Forum Blog at http://wef.ch/blog
Read Forum reports on Scribd at http://wef.ch/scribd
Follow the Meeting on iPhone at http://wef.ch/iPhone
Upcoming Forum events at http://wef.ch/events
Subscribe to Forum News Releases at http://wef.ch/news
For more information about the Annual Meeting, please visit http://www.weforum.org