Tag Archives: Shanghai

Global Health: Time to Pay Attention to Chronic Diseases

I subscribe to many government newsletters and blogs.  One is the NIH (National Institutes of Health) Director’s blog.  His name is Dr. Francis Collins.

Today, I read Dr. Collins’ post about a global initiative, Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD).  The headline,

Global Health: Time to Pay Attention to Chronic Diseases

really caught my eye.  Of course, my first thought was, “M.E. is a chronic disease, it is also a global chronic disease.”

The members of the GACD are:  the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, and India, South Africa, Brazil, and the European Union.  They are meeting in Shanghai as I write.

However, my good feelings quickly found themselves dashed as a pumpkin would feel if it fell off the farmers’ truck onto the paved road on the way to market.  I mean – smashed!

Dr. Collins went on to write:  “While infectious diseases remain a significant problem in the developing world, cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases are now among the fastest growing causes of death and disability around the globe. In fact, nearly three-quarters of the 38 million people died of chronic diseases in 2012.”

My thought:  “And add the more than 20 million sufferers of M.E. to that, plus the uncounted number who suffer from fibromyalgia, POTS and others I can’t think of to name right now.  We’re talking about a big chunk of the world’s population.

I don’t know if Dr. Collins will take the time and trouble to answer my comment on his post.  Here is my comment:

“A very interesting post, Dr. Collins. I was not aware that the NIH helped form the initiative, Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD). Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have not been targeted much, as far as I can see from all my reading, and am taking heart from this report, that there will be a much greater focus. You must be familiar with “M.E.” (myalgic encephalomyelitis). It is also called, “CFS” (chronic fatigue syndrome), which, according to all experts, clinicians, researchers, patients and advocates, is a great misnomer, as it certainly is much more than “fatigue.” Since M.E. is a NCD, as far as anyone knows, will the GACD have this disease on its agenda anytime soon? My daughter has M.E., so I have a personal interest. I send letters to President Obama every month, describing M.E., and how it affects the lives of more than 17 million people globally, with more than 1 million in the US alone. If this isn’t a catastrophe, I don’t know what is. BTW, if you could help us out within the NIH and HHS, we surely would appreciate some more focus and funds for research for M.E.  Thanks again.”