Applying Modeling to Improve Health and Economic Policy Decisions in the Americas: The Case of Noncommunicable Diseases

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
Pan American Health Organization
ISBN: 978-92-75-11865-8
Published online: 2015

Abstract / Resumen:

In the Region of the Americas, no communicable diseases (NCDs) are a clear threat not only to human health, but also to a country’s economic development and growth. The evidence on both of these counts is compelling. In 2012, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, chronic respiratory conditions including asthma, and other NCDs were the cause of 4.5 million deaths in the Americas. Of that total number, 1.5 million of them were premature, occurring among people aged 30-69 years. The financial impact of NCDs in the Americas is just as dismaying, with chronic diseases posing a growing threat to many nations’ economic stability. According to a 2007 Lancet article, without intensified NCD prevention efforts, countries around the world could expect their gross domestic product (GDP) to decline by billions of dollars. Over the 2006- 2015 period, from just three chronic illnesses—heart disease, stroke, and diabetes—the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico together could face a cumulative combined GDP loss of US$ 13.5 billion.These health and financial losses are not inevitable. Options exist today for actions that governments, civil society, and the private sector can take to substantially reduce these costs. Nevertheless, choosing the best health and economic policies can be a daunting task. Since 2011, both the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization have been working with governments and such other partners as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean to strengthen the capacities of countries to generate and use economic data in developing NCD interventions, with the aim of reducing mortality from these diseases. This publication, Applying Modeling to Improve Health and Economic Policy Decisions in the Americas: The Case of Noncommunicable Diseases is the product of this collaboration. The text is the first to exclusively present different economic models and illustrate their application to NCDs in the Region of the Americas. It aims to stimulate the use of economic modeling as a tool to support the decision-making process for NCD interventions, and to encourage investment in cost-effective strategies for healthy living and NCD prevention in the Region [… ] A healthy population is an important factor for sustainable economic growth. All the persons who share that view—including public health practitioners, researchers, students, and officials framing and implementing health policies in the private and public sectors— could benefit from this text. Allocating existing resources and marshaling new ones are essential steps if health systems in the Region are to meet the evolving needs of their populations, particularly as it relates to NCD prevention and control. We firmly believe this book can help the nations of the Americas face that challenge.

Keywords / Palabras clave: Chronic Diseases, Health Economics, Public Health Policy, Inequalities, Health Systems, Decision Making, Latin America.

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