Disease Costs Undermine Gov’t Objectives

Disease Costs Undermine Gov’t ObjectivesDisease Costs Undermine Gov’t Objectives

Disease burden is the impact of a health problem as measured by financial cost, mortality, morbidity, or other indicators.

It is a benchmark for devising national health policies and is used for comparing the overall health and life expectancy of different countries. It is often quantified in terms of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) or disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), both of which quantify the number of years lost due to disease (YLDs).

It indicates the difference between a current situation and an ideal situation where everyone lives up to the age of the standard life expectancy in perfect health, and calculated by adding  years of life lost (YLL) due to premature mortality generally caused by non-communicable diseases (NCD) and years lived with disability (YLD).

DALY index is the main criteria for ranking health status of different societies and taking on relevant challenges. An increase in this index will bring about substantial tangible and non-tangible losses.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says value of each year of human life is three times more than a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Assuming a country with 75 million people, the sum of indirect expenses due to YLL would be $270 billion for the population.

 Health Risks

Sociologist Amanullah Gharayimoghadam, referring to the Health Ministry’s YLL statistics over a period of 10 years, said considering the young population, widespread health risks contribute to a decline in longevity, undermining government’s long-term objectives and imposes irreparable economic loss, IRNA reports.

Recently, the government decided to provide grants of $30,000, $44,000 and $59,000 per head to exceptionally talented students in their undergraduate, graduate and doctorate years of study respectively, with the expectation that the investments will pay off in the long run by benefiting society as a whole. In the event of premature deaths, not only will society incur extensive loss but also be deprived of key economic pillars.

He also pointed to the necessity of boosting productivity in the country which is considerably low when compared to other countries.

Head of Non-Communicable Disease Centre at the Health Ministry, Ahmad Kousha, pointed to the YLD index, mostly due to heart diseases, strokes, car accidents and mental disorders.

Iran is ranked second globally with the most number of road accidents among 190 countries, causing significant human and financial loss each year.

Burden of disease and its causative factors have social and cultural roots. Cheking such trends demands in-depth planning, incorporating all organizations and entities in line with promoting people’s health in the long term. Moreover, prevention rather than treatment should be the slogan, where even a small measure such as paving walking routes for people, is a healthy step forward.