Volume 13, Issue 5/2011 - Interview

Health Priorities

Non-Communicable chronic diseases are a hot topic at the minute. The WHO has developed international programmes and prepared and adopted a resolution during the 64 UN General Assembly. For this reason, chronic non-communicable diseases have become the main health theme of the Polish presidency of the Council of the European Union. The two priorities are:

  • Alignment of differences in the health of EU Member States; 
  • Degenerative brain diseases, including Alzheimer's.

The first includes the two aspects of respiratory disease in children as a risk factor for impaired health in the later stages of life and communication disorders in children (hearing, speech and visual) as significantly toxic to children in working life, social, and responsible for delayed development and social exclusion.


Childhood disorders deserve special attention as they are poorly represented in existing EU programmes. Respiratory diseases, for example, especially allergy and asthma are among the most common chronic diseases of developmental age and affect 10 to 30 percent of the European population. This upward trend is observed in almost all EU countries. The final result of this epidemic is the increase in the incidence of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). The cost of treating these conditions in Western Europe exceeded 40 billion euros in the mid-nineties (Allergy White Paper) and continues to grow. Disability resulting from asthma (12-16% of children, young people and up to 44 years of age in Poland by the ECAP) or allergies (over 40% of the population according to data ECAP) has the hallmarks of an epidemic. The result is both economic and social health burdens (e.g. 1 / 10 for the reimbursement of costs for prescription drugs is spent on drugs for asthma and respiratory allergies).


It is an important epidemiological chain: Allergic rhinitis (ANN) is the highest risk factor for asthma, and this in turn leads to the COPD, which is a condition likely to cause persistent respiratory distress, increasing respiratory insufficiency, circulatory, significant disability and death. It is estimated that in 20 years COPD will be the third cause of death in industrialised countries. By 2030, 44 million citizens in Europe will be affected.


These diseases are affected by public health issues such as smoking, pollution and alcohol abuse. It therefore seems reasonable to build a new vision of integration for health problems in Europe. Their high prevalence, their impact on quality of life - especially in ageing societies - and the significant economic consequences for the individual and society, make chronic noncommunicable respiratory diseases a major clinical problem and also a challenge for public health.


Among the current task lists is to develop and implement a system enabling the collection, analysis and dissemination of data and information on trends in mortality, the population burden, risk factors, as well as plans and programmes related to the topic of non-communicable chronic diseases. The international dimension recognises the need for coordinated cooperation in order to monitor and evaluate progress in the prevention and control of chronic non-communicable diseases. 


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Non-Communicable chronic diseases are a hot topic at the minute. The WHO has developed international programmes and prepared and adopted a resolution durin

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