World Health Report 1997 (The)
Conquering Suffering, Enriching Humanity
Offical Publication
World Health Organization
ISBN-13    9789241561853 ISBN-10    9241561858
Order Number    12401997   
Price    CHF    15.00 / US$    18.00 Developing countries:    CHF    9.00
English     1997        172   pages
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Summary
The World Health Report 1997: Conquering Suffering, Enriching Humanity provides an expert assessment of the world health situation in all its complexity, giving particular attention to the problems posed - in developing and industrialized countries alike - by chronic diseases. Compiled by the World Health Organization, the report combines the latest global health statistics with profiles for each of the major chronic diseases, offering pertinent details about causes, risk factors, global and regional trends, and current and future prospects for prevention, treatment, cure, and rehabilitation.
The report opens with an overview of recent trends that have made chronic diseases the focus of particular concern in every part of the world. These include population ageing, which puts more people at risk of developing chronic conditions late in life, global population growth, and the rising prevalence of unhealthy lifestyles - characterized by inappropriate diet, inadequate physical exercise, and smoking. The report also explains why these trends call for an urgent review of several traditional attitudes towards health. Key issues raised include the need to combat chronic and infectious diseases simultaneously, rather than sequentially, as in the past; knowledge that many chronic diseases have infectious causes, which reinforces the need for simultaneous action; and the tremendous burden of suffering and disability caused by chronic diseases, which makes health expectancy more important than life expectancy.
This general discussion is followed by a profile of the state of world health at the end of 1996, including a concise analysis of global economic, political, social, and demographic trends relevant to health in general and chronic diseases in particular. Also included are the most up-to-date statistics on life expectancy, mortality by age group and sex, and causes of death and disease.
Against this background, the report turns to an in-depth analysis of all the chronic diseases that are major causes of death or avoidable ill-health and disability. These include each of the eight most common cancers, circulatory diseases, asthma, diabetes and other metabolic disorders, hereditary diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, and mental and neurological disorders. For each disease, the report gives a brief description of clinical features, estimates the global numbers affected, and identifies the main risk factors. Drawing on the latest scientific knowledge, the report also explains current and future methods of prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment - whether concerning genetic influences that are being probed in research laboratories or recommendations for a healthy diet.
Noting the relatively small number of risk factors shared by many of these diseases, the report points to major opportunities for prevention through the use of coordinated strategies and integrated packages of disease-specific interventions. Though the focus is on global problems and global solutions, these profiles also offer individuals the best available advice on protecting their own health, particularly in the absence of a cure for most chronic diseases.
To show the way forward, the report describes the wide range of ongoing WHO activities aimed at combatting chronic diseases, infectious diseases, and a host of other factors that threaten world health. The final chapter, on charting the future, estimates future trends for selected diseases and identifies six priority areas where international action can help combat chronic diseases and thus reduce the enormous suffering and disability that they cause.