HIV and noncommunicable diseases hinder the progress of poor countries' Millennium Development Goals

March 2, 2010

A study published in PLoS Medicine this week examines why poor countries are falling behind with the UN Millennium Development Goals for health, finding that noncommunicable diseases and HIV prevalence are strongly associated with the difficulty countries have meeting these targets.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which underpin the global development agenda, include the reduction of , improvements in maternal health, and decreasing the burden of /AIDS, and other major diseases, but few of these targets are going to be met by 2015.

David Stuckler of the University of Oxford, Sanjay Basu at the University of California, San Francisco, and Martin McKee at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine re-examined the progress that countries have made towards these targets to understand why some countries are falling behind. They found that the traditional explanations, such as economic under-development, low priority of health, inadequate spending by governments, and weak health infrastructure accounted for only a fifth of the inequality in progress. In contrast more than half of the inequality in progress in could be explained by the prevalence of HIV and the burden of non-communicable diseases - non-infectious diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes that are often associated with environmental and lifestyle factors such as smoking.

Until now, both donors and recipients of development assistance have paid little attention to non-communicable diseases, instead targeting their activities to infections. This new analysis shows how the co-existence of these epidemics represent an important and previously unappreciated source of poor progress towards the existing international health targets. The researchers stress the biological and economic interrelationships of illness affecting those living in poor households, concluding that the achievement of feasible reductions in non-communicable diseases could greatly enhance progress towards health MDGS.

Explore further: Worldwide Parkinson's cases will double in next 25 years

More information: Stuckler D, Basu S, McKee M (2010) Drivers of Inequality in Millennium Development Goal Progress: A Statistical Analysis. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000241. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000241

Related Stories

Worldwide Parkinson's cases will double in next 25 years

January 29, 2007

The number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease in 15 of the world’s largest nations will double over the next generation, according to a study published in the January 30 issue of the journal Neurology. The study ...

Are we spending too much on HIV?

February 16, 2007

Billions of pounds are being spent on the fight against AIDS in developing countries. In this week’s BMJ, two experts go head to head over whether we are spending too much.

Huge proportion of maternal deaths worldwide are preventable

February 19, 2008

A study published in PLoS Medicine this week suggests that of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa, more may die from treatable infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pregnancy.

Health varies widely across different regions of Mexico

June 17, 2008

A new study of the burden of disease and injury across Mexico has found that the south suffers the highest rates of infectious and nutritional diseases, injuries, and non-communicable diseases. The study, by researchers at ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.