Outlook - 24/August/2020

Imagine a world of good health

Policies to curb NCDs need to consider broader environment for good health

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History tells us how we got here, but not how to fully embrace the NCD challenge and build a healthier future for global populations. That will take the vision to imagine a better world and the courage to implement the changes to achieve it. The result will be an improved outlook for global health.

The explosion in NCDs is responsible for more than two-thirds of global mortality, as well as a significant proportion of the rise in healthcare spending over the past two decades. Although NCDs are increasing around the world, the burden of dealing with them will especially rest on developing economies, where health systems are generally still struggling to provide basic primary care services and many citizens still lack access to healthcare.

The following articles will take a look at the sociology of NCDs to understand how social networks can create their own contagion. We also examine how we might reimagine urban spaces with a healthier population in mind. Lastly, we reflect on the extent to which health technology has been the victim of its own hype and identify the innovations that are likely to be a key part of managing NCDs in the future.

What our articles on the outlook for global health reveal is that reducing NCDs requires policies that take into account the immediate environment, lifestyle risks and the medical background of patients. This includes paying closer attention to the way smaller communities and social groups can encourage or discourage healthy habits through their influence on family, friends and neighbours. A macro approach to NCDs must include all the social determinants of health and involve policies that integrate them accordingly. In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, the importance of comprehensive policy has never been clearer.

TEXT Andrea Chipman — PHOTO Paulius Dragunas

Read the articles from the Outlook series:


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