In News: The COVID-19 pandemic and the June 2022 floods have compounded Pakistan’s health indicators, a recent study by medical journal The Lancet has found. However, infectious and non-communicable diseases (NCD) were already increasing in the country, as were region-wide disparities.
- Pakistan’s life expectancy has improved from 61.1 years in 1990 to 65.9 years in 2019, with women recording an increase of 8.2 per cent, as compared to 7.6 per cent for men. Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces recorded the least improvement in life expectancy.
Non communicable diseases:
- Non-communicable diseases are diseases that are not spread through infection or through other people, but are typically caused by unhealthy behaviours.
- They are the leading cause of death worldwide and present a huge threat to health and development, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
- Four types of non-communicable diseases account for over two thirds of deaths globally:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic respiratory diseases
- NCDs share four major risk factors: tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets.
- More than three-quarters of all NCD deaths, and 86% of the 17 million people who died prematurely, or before reaching 70 years of age, occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- Premature mortality in 2019 was primarily caused by neonatal disorders, followed by ischaemic heart disease, stroke, diarrhoeal diseases and lower respiratory infections
- Iron deficiency has remained the leading cause of years lived with disability for both men and women since 1990.
- Low birthweight, alongside short gestation and particulate matter pollution, has remained the leading contributor to the overall disease burden since 1990.
- NCDs like ischaemic heart disease, stroke, congenital disabilities, cirrhosis and chronic kidney disease were among the 10 leading causes of years of life lost in 2019
- Communicable diseases are illnesses that spread from one person to another or from an animal to a person, or from a surface or a food.
- Causes – Pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi
- direct contact with a sick person
- respiratory droplet spread from a sick person sneezing or coughing
- contact with blood or other body fluids
- breathing in viruses or bacteria in the air
- contact with a contaminated surface or object
- bites from insects or animals that can transmit the disease
- ingestion of contaminated food or water
- Symptoms will vary depending on the disease and on a person’s overall health and immune function.
- Some people will not experience any symptoms. However, they can still transmit the pathogen.
- Some symptoms are a direct result of the pathogen damaging the body’s cells. Others are due to the body’s immune response to the infection.
- Some communicable diseases may be mild, and symptoms pass after a few days. However, some can be serious and potentially life threatening. Symptom severity may vary
- Rhinoviruses, Coronaviruses, HIV, Influenza, Salmonella, Tuberculosis, Athlete’s foot, Lyme disease, Plasmodium
Previous Year Question
Q1) In the context of hereditary diseases, consider the following statements: (2021)
- Passing on mitochondrial diseases from parent to child can be prevented by mitochondrial replacement therapy either before or after in vitro fertilization of egg.
- A child inherits mitochondrial diseases entirely from mother and not from father.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2