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Globalizar la lucha contra las enfermedades no transmisibles

MONTREAL – El énfasis tradicional de las organizaciones e iniciativas dedicadas a la salud mundial (y en particular, la Organización Mundial de la Salud) ha estado puesto en las enfermedades infecciosas, como la malaria (su gran fracaso) y la viruela (su mayor éxito). Pero siempre hubo un minúsculo espacio para las enfermedades no transmisibles (ENT) crónicas en países de ingresos bajos y medios (PIBM). Conforme esos países avanzan en su nivel de desarrollo, se torna más imperioso agrandar ese espacio.

La OMS comenzó a prestar atención a las ENT en los años setenta, cuando lanzó sus primeros programas para la reducción de las enfermedades cardiovasculares. En 1977, la organización ya tenía una división exclusiva para las ENT. En 1985, la Asamblea Mundial de la Salud aprobó la resolución WHA 38.30, que pide a los países integrantes elaborar nuevas estrategias para la solución de sus problemas relacionados con ENT.

Se iniciaron entonces dos programas: uno para Europa occidental y el otro, llamado Inter-Health, orientado a una serie de países que van de Chile y Tanzania a Finlandia y los Estados Unidos. Inter-Health adoptó el objetivo de coordinar un conjunto de proyectos experimentales locales, a fin de desarrollar un modelo de programa flexible que pudiera aplicarse a países en diversos estadios de desarrollo.

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