THE QUIET EPIDEMIC: NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND HOW MOBILE PHONES CAN HELP
Rapidly spreading infectious ailments such as Ebola virus disease and avian flu generate headlines. . . but a collection of diseases that do not spread from person to person, usually progress slowly, and are often caused or worsened by habits and lifestyles, are taking an increasingly heavy toll, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Information sent by mobile phone can alert people to the risks of NCDs and can save lives by targeting treatments and contributing to changes in behavior.
• Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory ailments, diabetes, and other NCDs cause 38 million deaths per year.
• Almost three quarters of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
• 16 million NCD deaths occur before age 70, and 82% of such “premature” deaths take place in less-wealthy nations.
• Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol, and unhealthy diets increase the risk of dying from NCDs.
• 90% of people in developing countries have access to mobile phone networks.