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THE PHARMA REVIEW (NOV DEC 2018)

Emerging Trends for the Future of Healthcare

M. D. Nair

Introduction:

One of the most important wishes of homo sapiens on this planet is to live a healthy life with minimal morbidity and suffering. And that involves not only absence of diseases per se, but also mental and perhaps even spiritual wellness and overall good quality of life. Much has been achieved since the time of the Alma Ata Declaration (Health For All by 2000 A.D.) of 1978. For example life expectancy has increased globally from 64 in 1985 to 70 in 2015 and there has been dramatic improvements in infant and maternal mortality, morbidity levels and palliative support for many diseases, eradication of some major diseases such as small pox, polio etc. Universal healthcare, however, is still a far cry for almost the entire global population. With over 18% of the population in the ageing (geriatrics) group, chronic ailments of the aged have become a major health problem. In addition, while communicable diseases many of them of newer aetiology not amenable to treatment with available antibiotics, anti virals, anti fungals etc. continue to plague mankind, even a greater threat is the increase in non-communicable diseases. Thus globally, there are over 200 million Diabetics, 40 million patients with Cardiovascular Diseases, over a billion with Central Nervous System Disorders, 14 million new cases of Cancer every year (the second highest cause of death) etc. And all these are chronic, life style related diseases requiring life long treatment. For the majority of countries which are classified as developing countries in view of their poor economic status, long periods of morbidity among 18-20% of their population belonging to the geriatric category is a heavy burden on their healthcare infrastructure, human resources and their overall economy. Thus, over the next 20 years, while newer technologies will enable better products and services in the healthcare field, for the majority of the Worlds population living in developing and least developed countries with many of their people living below the property line, the benefits of the new developments will not be accessible or affordable.

 

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