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Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research

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Title: Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research

Edited by: Louis Galambos and Jeffrey L Sturchio

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

Reviewer: Rebecca Myatt

What was it like?

Chronic and non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, are a rapidly growing contributor to death and disability worldwide. It is estimated that in 2010 alone over 44 million deaths were attributable to these factors, 80% of which were in low and middle income countries. 

This small but powerful book written by the non-communicable disease working group, considers the background behind these stark statistics and offers insight into how the problems can be addressed. Discussion includes how we can learn from the successes of the fight against malaria, HIV and TB in the developing world and the success of local policies such as health initiatives in New York.

The chapters are in the form of essays, which cover areas such as creating a global regulatory framework to improve access to essential medicines and treatment, as well as understanding and overcoming the structural obstacles to this, learning from the success of the campaign for treatment of the HIV epidemic and involving the pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies to help improve patient compliance.

The role of prevention, early diagnosis and treatment in primary care, and the financial constraints on these, is considered in a later chapter along with discussion on the importance of putting political mandates into practical actions.

The burden of non-communicable diseases is staggering, and the final chapter draws together the preceding themes, and considers the implications of improved collaboration and co-ordination to enable policy innovation, for the betterment of all society.

What were the highlights? 

Although this is an academic subject, the book is extremely well presented and straightforward to read. The chapters are structured, leading the reader through the important concepts and offering suggestions for action.  It is well written and accessible to those with an interest in this field.

Strengths & weaknesses:

Data presentation is extremely clear, with graphs, tables and case studies used to highlight important points within the text. Each chapter is has a detailed reference list at the end to enable further reading.

Who should read it?

This book would be relevant to any nurse with an academic interest in global health issues and politics, as well as those with a specific interest in overseas health policy, or those considering work in developing countries.


Noncommunicable Diseases in the Developing World: Addressing Gaps in Global Policy and Research

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