DNA double-helix.

Enfrentar las enfermedades no transmisibles

INDIANÁPOLIS – En todo el planeta, uno de los principales factores que destruyen vidas y obstaculizan el crecimiento económico es también de los más difíciles de abordar. Hoy las enfermedades no transmisibles (ENT), como las cardiopatías, la diabetes y el cáncer, suman dos tercios de las muertes que ocurren en el planeta. Además de acortar vidas, suponen una enorme carga económica para quienes las sufren, sus familias y sus comunidades, minando la productividad económica y aumentando los costes médicos. En las próximas dos décadas, el total de las pérdidas económicas causadas por ellas podría superar los 30 billones de dólares.

Para abordar el complejo reto que suponen será necesario un esfuerzo internacional coordinado. Afortunadamente, en el último tiempo se han dado algunos pasos importantes en esa dirección. En septiembre último las Naciones Unidas adoptaron los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS), un conjunto de 17 metas que servirán de guía para la agenda de desarrollo mundial de los próximos 15 años. Junto con objetivos como eliminar la pobreza y medidas para proteger el medio ambiente, incluyen el compromiso de reducir la mortalidad que provocan las ENT. Es la primera vez que la agenda oficial de desarrollo de la ONU enfrenta directamente este problema.

Se trata de un hito muy bienvenido, pero es el primero de muchos que deben ocurrir. Las cargas físicas y económicas que conllevan recaen más fuertemente en quienes menos las pueden asimilar: los países de ingresos bajos y medios, donde ocurren más de un 80% de las muertes relacionadas con las ENT. Como resultado, millones de personas que han logrado salir de la pobreza en los últimos años podrían volver a caer en ella.

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