Dr Rumana Dowla represented the IAHPC at the WHO 67th session of the Regional Committee for South East Asia on 9-12 September 2014, when a draft was adopted to include palliative care in the national plan for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Dr Dowla, who is Chairperson of the Bangladesh Palliative and Supportive Care Foundation, has written for the IAHPC newsletter about this event.
In Bangladesh, with its population of about 160 million people, the burden of NCDs has been rising at an alarming pace. In a review of 23 developing countries, Bangladesh had the ninth highest age-standardized mortality due to chronic diseases, such as primary cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Unplanned urbanization is a conduit for unhealthy lifestyles, for example smoking and fast food consumption, while common risk factors give rise to intermediate risk factors: raised blood pressure, raised blood glucose, unfavourable lipid profiles, obesity and impaired lung function.
Approximately 51% of deaths in Bangladesh are due to non communicable diseases and other chronic health conditions. In turn, the intermediate risk factors predispose individuals to the ‘fatal four’: cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes, as well as stroke. Pain is often manifested as one of the symptoms of these NCDs, e.g. acute myocardial infarction and cancer…read more