Chronic Diseases in the Americas - Opportunities for Action Beyond the UN High Level Meeting

  Listen to an interview with Dr. Jon Andrus.

One in four people in the Americas has a chronic disease. These diseases—mainly cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes—contribute to two thirds of U.S. healthcare costs. On September 12, CSIS senior fellow Katherine Bliss hosted Dr. Jon Andrus, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to discuss how PAHO’s regional action strategy can inform the September 2011 high-level UN meeting on noncommunicable diseases.

Andrus said PAHO’s goal is to save 3.4 million lives in the next 10 years by cutting smoking prevalence by 20 percent, salt intake by 15 percent, and providing essential medicines to 60 percent of chronic disease patients. PAHO’s plan recognizes that chronic diseases fall disproportionately on underserved communities and women, focusing on cost effective interventions with the biggest potential impact.

PAHO’s regional coordination is an unprecedented opportunity to save more lives more quickly with known interventions that work, said Andrus. He stressed the need for a whole society focus, incorporating education, urban planning and the built environment to encourage healthy behavior. He warned that if childhood obesity trends are not reversed, the longevity gains to date from sanitation, clean water, and immunizations will be lost.

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Watch the full event above. 

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