About a decade and a half ago, public health priorities in low- and middle-income countries were centred on infectious diseases and maternal and child health issues. Subsequently, however, data published in leading medical journals and reports by multilateral agencies has shown that more than 50% of the burden of disease in developing countries is attributable to chronic diseases – including heart disease, diabetes, cancers and some chronic lung conditions. The common ground for these diseases lies both in their interlinked biological and lifestyle risk factors and in the lack of recognition they have received in public health terms. The absence of chronic disease-related targets from the UN Millennium Development Goals is evidence of that neglect. Sania Nishtar describes a successful public-private partnership which is redressing the balance at the policy level, by effectively pushing chronic disease higher up the public health agenda in Pakistan.
chronic disease, non-communicable diseases, Pakistan, Heartfile