Tackling the subject of improving health is complex and to know where we can have the most effect, sparks a lengthy and challenging debate. As the world continues to evolve, science will continue to offer exciting new discoveries. But it will also see the appearance of new diseases, the evolution of existing diseases and the re-emergence of old diseases to continually challenge the state of our health. However, for me, it is chronic disease that is the biggest healthcare challenge facing us, which has been largely unforeseen and is not being addressed adequately.
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and mental disorders represent 60% all deaths. This is expected to rise to 73% by 2020. Risk factors like obesity, which are directly linked to diabetes and cancer, are spreading. More cancers are being found in the developing world and there is to be an expected increase of 50% worldwide by 2050. Africa will have the highest increase in diabetes over the next 20 years and at present we estimate that 80% are undiagnosed in the continent.