Rising chronic disease cases hamper PH economic growth – ADB

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 18) — The exponentially growing number of non-communicable diseases over the last decade is posing financial risks to the Philippines and other countries in Asia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

"They are hampering economic growth and putting at risk the economic gains," ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono said.

He said the chronic, long-term nature of NCDs, such as diabetes and heart diseases, are placing increasing strains on health systems. Susantono said the Philippines spent P716M in 2015 for direct medical expenses for diabetes alone. He said this amount could have been spent for other development needs of the country, instead of paying for chronic treatment.

"They will potentially severely affect economic growth and drive people into poverty because of lost jobs and the cost of chronic treatment," Susantono said at the "Innovations and Actions Against Non-Communicable Diseases" forum held in ADB in Manila on July 16 to 18.

Noncommunicable diseases — cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes — represents 63 percent of all annual deaths, according to the World Health Organization. In 2017, 68 percent of deaths among Filipinos were attributed to NCDs.

ADB said developing countries should address the problem of non-communicable diseases.

"NCDs is a threat to economic growth and universal health coverage and we need to take immediate and strong actions against them," Susantono said.

Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo said the rising prevalence of NCDs is being addressed through its reform agenda "DOH Fourmula One Plus."

"We need to champion disease prevention through information and advocacy campaigns. We need to take art in managing NCDs by becoming champions of healthy living," he said during the forum.