Dean Frenk urges action on noncommunicable diseases in poor countries

Harvard School of Public Health Dean Julio Frenk said there is a “moral imperative” to prevent and treat noncommunicable diseases in poor countries, similar to the effort made during the AIDS epidemic a decade ago.

Frenk and other health experts spoke Sept. 14, 2011 at a daylong conference sponsored by The Washington Post and underwritten by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. They addressed the huge gulf that exists between rich and poor nations regarding treatment of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, and emphysema.

Frenk said that the injustice that occurred during the AIDS epidemic—that people in rich countries taking AIDS drugs could expect long lives while Africans without access to drugs died quickly—eventually resulted in six million people in poor countries getting access to antiretroviral therapy. “We are witnessing a new frontier of equity,” Frenk told the Post.

Read the Washington Post article

Learn more

Costly Noncommunicable Diseases on Rise in Developing World (HSPH news)

Dean Frenk Points to Changing Health Goals in Globalized World (Harvard Public Health NOW)