“Chronic diseases are often considered to be a health problem endemic to the developed world, but the etiological link between infectious diseases and chronic diseases and the global rise of diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and nondiabetic chronic renal diseases have made chronic diseases a primary health burden in developing countries […] Coordinated and integrated action to target the growing prevalence of chronic diseases will become essential in 21st century global public health policy.”
Chronic diseases present a significant challenge to 21st century global health policy. In developing nations, the growing prevalence of chronic diseases such as chronic kidney disease has severe implications on health and economic output. The rapid rise of common risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, especially among the poor, will result in even greater and more profound burdens that developing nations are not equipped to handle. Attention to chronic diseases, chronic kidney disease in particular, has been lacking, largely due to the global health community’s focus on infectious diseases and lack of awareness. There is a critical need for funding in and to developing countries to implement more comprehensive, cost-effective, and preventative interventions against chronic diseases. This paper examines the epidemiology of chronic diseases, the growing prevalence of chronic kidney disease and its implications for global public health, and the associated health and economic burdens. Finally, a summary review of cost-effective interventions and funding needs is provided.