We must “focus on the creation of sustainable health systems – that through knowledge – can meet the twenty-first century health needs of people around the corner and around the globe,” said Linda Fried, Dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
On September 19th PIH co-founder Dr. Paul Farmer participated in a panel discussion with Lance Armstrong, Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Lawrence Shulman. The discussion, Delivering Hope: Preventing and Treating Non-communicable Diseases in Developing Countries, focused on the potential strategies, practical interventions, and promise of saving lives.
Our policy and investments need to be smarter and better, says Dr. Farmer. “We must incorporate prevention and early interventions…in the next generation of health care.”
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — cancer, diabetes, heart and lung disease — are the leading cause of death globally, killing an estimated 36 million people each year, according the World Health Organization. These diseases diproportionately burden the poor, the young, and the marginalized. Nearly 80 percent of NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
But NCDs can also be prevented and treated with simple, practical cost-effective solutions. The panel, which is sponsored by the Columbia University World Leaders Forum and the Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, discussed the growing challenge of chronic disease in developing countries and what can be done about it now.
Much of the conversation around non-communicable diseases is sparked after the panel viewed a video of Francine, a young Rwandan women who had been living with a particularly aggressive case of cancer. After traveling the country looking for treatment, Francine and her family arrived at PIH’s Rwinkwavu Hospital. Here they found treatment, and Francine was able to restart her life.