Mettere la salute pubblica in primo piano

SEATTLE – Venticinque anni fa la situazione della salute pubblica, riferita alle grandi popolazioni, ricordava quella di un medico che cerca di curare un paziente senza un’adeguata diagnosi. Le malattie e lesioni che accorciano la vita e causano ampia sofferenza non venivano monitorate in modo rigoroso.

All’epoca, i benintenzionati sostenitori di questa o quella malattia diffondevano il numero delle vittime ad essa associate, riuscendo così ad attirare finanziamenti e attenzione. Sommando, però, le varie rivendicazioni, il totale risultava ben più elevato del numero dei decessi che effettivamente avvenivano in un determinato anno. E quand’anche i politici disponevano di dati più precisi, questi in genere riguardavano solo le cause di morte, non le malattie che compromettono la vita.

Per risolvere questo problema, nel 1990 io e Alan Lopez abbiamo avviato il progetto Global Burden of Disease (GBD), che si occupa di studiare l’onere delle malattie a livello mondiale. I decision-maker devono disporre di informazioni accurate sui principali rischi per la salute globale e sulla loro evoluzione nel tempo e per gruppi di età e genere, così da poter garantire a tutti l’opportunità di godere di una vita più lunga e sana possibile.

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