Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Non-communicable Diseases in Afghanistan at a glance

Non-communicable Diseases in Afghanistan 

Of the 57 million global deaths in 2008, 63% were due to NCDs. As the impact of NCDs increases, and as the population age, annual NCDs deaths are projected to continue to rise worldwide, and the greatest increase is expected to occur in low and middle income countries. It is assumed that NCDs affect mostly high income population, while the evidence tells a very different story. Nearly 80% of NCDs deaths occur in low and middle income countries. The demographic and epidemiological transitions in South Asia are resulting in an increasing share of the diseases burden related to NCDs. Over half of the disease burden in South Asia is attributed to NCDs. This proportion is expected to rise significantly.

The current data shows that the burden of NCDs is escalating in Afghanistan. They are the cause of more than 35% mortality, as indicated in Afghanistan Mortality Survey (AMS) 2010. The major contributor includes Cardiovascular Diseases (Female 17.9% Male 14%), Cancer (Female 8.3% Male 7.3%), Diabetes Mellitus (Female 2.7% Male 3.7), and Respiratory Disease (female 2.3% Male 1.9%).  Among female, the leading causes of death are infectious/parasitic and Cardiovascular disease (18% each) followed by respiratory infections (15%). NCDs share common preventable and modifiable risk factors like tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, and harmful use of Alcohol.

Risk Factors for NCDs

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for NCDs. It is the only product in the world that kills half of its users. Almost 6 million people die from direct and passive smoking each year. By 2020, this number will increase to 7.5 million, accounting for 10% of all deaths. If current trends continue, tobacco will kill nearly 8 million people every year throughout the period leading to 2030. Smoking is estimated to cause 71% of lung cancer, 42% of chronic respiratory disease and nearly 10% of cardiovascular diseases. The highest incidence of smoking among men is in low-middle income countries.

In Afghanistan data on smoking and its effects on health is limited. However, the Global Youth Tobacco Survey of 2010 indicates that more than 16% of youths have ever tried or experimented smoking, 90 % of them tried a cigarette in the age of 13 years, 17% of children have been affected by passive smoking, 21 % of students said that most of their closest friends smoke cigarettes, 18 % of students think that passive smoking is not harmful. In addition, a recent study conducted in Kabul indicates that the prevalence of cigarette smoking among men aged 15 years and older is estimated to be 35.2%. Study findings show that 46% of respondents were smoking in some point in their life. Totally 85.4% (35.2% currently smokers and 50.2% passive smokers) of respondents were somehow exposed to cigarettes smoke. Study findings indicates that those who grew up in a family where family members were smoking, are more likely to smoke compared to those respondents whose family members were not smoking.

Globally, approximately 3.2 million people die each year due to physical inactivity. People who are insufficiently physically active have a 20-30% increased risk of all cause mortality. Moreover, nearly 2.3 million die from the harmful use of Alcohol. Unfortunately almost no data is available on these risk factors in Afghanistan.

Total population
Smoking  prevalence in Age 15 years and above  %
Passive smoking prevalence  %
Causes of Deaths (AMS 2010)
Communicable, maternal, perinatal and nutritional condition (2010) %
Female 52.8  --  Male 42.6
Non-communicable Disease  (2010) %
Female 37.5  -- Male 33.3
Cancer (2010) %
Female 8.4 --  Male 7.3
Cardiovascular Diseases (2010) %
Female 17.5 -- Male 14
Injuries (2010) %
Female 6.7 -- Male 20.8

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