Intended for healthcare professionals


Lessons in tackling chronic disease

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 19 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:820
  1. Sania Nishtar (, founder and president
  1. Heartfile, One Park Road, Chak Shahzad, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan

    Pioneering examples of partnerships in other regions are a useful source

    Chronic diseases account for about 47% of the total burden of disease in the 22 countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region. By 2020 this figure is expected to be 60%.1 Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic lung disease account for two thirds of deaths in countries with relatively low overall mortality rates, such as Iran and Jordan, and more than 40% of deaths in those with the highest rates, such as Somalia and Sudan.2

    These chronic conditions are linked by common risk factors. Some are lifestyle related—for example, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, and smoking—others are related to biological factors such as obesity, dyslipidaemia, and hypertension. Close to two thirds of the adult population in the region have risk factors for chronic disease; in the oil rich …

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