Chronic Problems, Not Just Crises, Should Be a Global Health Priority

Sudden outbreaks of diseases like Zika or Ebola ignite alarm while chronic medical conditions, many easily prevented, are often ignored or accepted because they seem less urgent. Societies must revise priorities to “unlock the full potential of the developing world, argues James Chen, writing for Stanford Social Innovation Review. “The World Health Organization recently estimated that the global prevalence of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease will rise by 57 percent between now and 2020. That increase will be one of the global health community’s most significant challenges in the coming century and will demand entirely new funding, investment, and delivery models.” Chen describes his own philanthropy focus – sending teams of caregivers to test eyesight and provide prescription glasses to factory workers, schools and villages in developing nations in Asia and Africa to improve performance and productivity. While often not life-threatening, poor vision is linked to safety and reported to cost the global economy $3 trillion per year. The traditional model of health care, emphasizing the role of specialists, cannot reach all in need, and Chen urges training nurses in primary eye care and developing remote diagnosis. – YaleGlobal

Chronic Problems, Not Just Crises, Should Be a Global Health Priority

Many in the developing world suffer from chronic health problems, often preventable; global health systems must revise priorities, develop new delivery models
James Chen
Thursday, September 1, 2016

James Chen is a venture philanthropist and entrepreneur, and founder of Clearly, a new global campaign to address the problem of poor vision across the globe.

Read about Clearly and the campaign’s work around the globe: “A world where everybody could see would be a better, fairer, more productive, happier world. We invite anybody with new ideas and a desire for change to join us.”

Copyright © 2016 Stanford University.

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