Chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and HIV and AIDS, progress slowly and place long-term burdens on individuals, families, communities, and nations.
Reducing chronic disease-related deaths by just two percent a year would save 36 million lives within a decade.
MSH addresses this rising burden by integrating cost-effective screenings and treatments for chronic diseases into our existing maternal and child health and infectious disease programs and by providing access to needed medicines and pharmaceutical services. Chronic diseases can largely be prevented through changes in lifestyle, reducing poverty and inequality, and improving access to quality, affordable health services and medicines. Action can be affordable and the health impact can be dramatic.
The MSH-led, USAID-funded STRIDES for Family Health project screened 1,500 women in Uganda for cervical cancer. A young mother in Ethiopia receives her first diabetic screening and is found to have gestational diabetes at a clinic supported by MSH’s work with the World Health Organization to provide universal gestational diabetes screening. In South Africa, MSH programs help establish community-based medicine pick-up points—bringing medicines for chronic diseases closer to communities and easing congestion at clinics. In Nigeria, MSH is using the evidence from a gestational diabetes pilot to advocate for universal access to diabetes testing for pregnant women. Through the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, led by MSH, some of the world’s poorest countries have access to insulin and other essential diabetes medicines and technologies. In Ethiopia and Afghanistan, MSH integrates diabetes screenings for TB patients, as well as screening for TB among diabetic patients.
Information and tools for prevention and treatment are saving lives. Integrated health services and stronger health systems ensure that governments and communities have the information, education, tools, and access to health care, vaccinations, and other medicines they need to provide better treatment for people in need.
Photo Credit: Mark Tuschman