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Matar a las enfermedades no transmisibles

SEATTLE – En los últimos 25 años, gracias en parte a un esfuerzo global coordinado para combatir las enfermedades infecciosas, incluidos la malaria, la tuberculosis, el VIH/SIDA y la polio, las tasas de mortalidad infantil se han reducido en un 50%, y la expectativa de vida promedio se ha incrementado en más de seis años. Es más, el porcentaje de la población mundial que vive en la extrema pobreza se ha reducido a la mitad. Estos son logros importantes, pero trajeron consigo un nuevo conjunto de desafíos que se deben abordar con urgencia.  

A medida que las vidas se han ido prolongado y los estilos de vida han cambiado, las enfermedades no transmisibles (ENT) como la diabetes, las enfermedades cardiovasculares, el cáncer y los trastornos respiratorios han prosperado, convirtiéndose por lejos en las principales causas de muerte del mundo. Mientras que unos 3,2 millones de personas murieron como consecuencia de la malaria, la tuberculosis o el VIH/SIDA en 2014, más de 38 millones murieron por ENT. Y la cantidad de muertes sigue creciendo. 

Tomemos el caso de la diabetes, una de las ENT de más rápido crecimiento. Según un informe reciente de la Organización Mundial de la Salud, la diabetes se cobró 1,5 millones de vidas en 2012, aproximadamente la misma cantidad que la tuberculosis. Pero mientras que las muertes por tuberculosis han declinado a la mitad desde 1990, el impacto de la diabetes está creciendo rápidamente. En 1980, 108 millones de personas vivían con diabetes, una tasa de aproximadamente una persona de cada 20; hoy, más de 400 millones, o una persona de cada 12, padecen la enfermedad. 

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