The coronavirus pandemic has “intensified” needs to prevent and treat not only infectious diseases such as Covid-19, but “noncommunicable” illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, say health-issue campaigners.
The pandemic “has brought about a greater recognition that the long-held distinctions between infectious and noncommunicable diseases are not as clear cut as once thought,” according to the Noncommunicable Disease (NCD) Alliance and The George Institute for Global Health, who warned in a report that “those with chronic conditions have a significantly higher risk of hospitalisation or death from the virus.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for people living with NCDs,” said Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance.
NCDs such as cancer and diabetes, as well as respiratory and heart disease, have recently perhaps become more widely-known as “co-morbidities” or “pre-existing conditions” that leave a sufferer more likely to get sick or die after a coronavirus infection.
Dain called for more integrated care to face up to “the reality” that “more people are living with multiple chronic conditions.”
“People living with TB are much more susceptible to diabetes and vice-versa,” she warned.
Almost 18 million people die worldwide each year from cardiovascular diseases, according to the report, which put the cancer death toll at 9.3 million and that of diabetes at 1.5 million.
Although NCDs “have come to be the leading causes of death and disability worldwide,” health care, particlarly in low and middle income countries, “does not yet respond to the needs of people” with the conditions, the alliance said.
Reports from many countries show hospital care and doctor treatments and diagnoses for many illnesses being stalled or delayed since the start of the pandemic, including for infectious diseases such as TB and NCDs such as cancer.Show