Dr. Jon Andrus, PAHO’s Deputy Director, spoke at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association this week at a session on population-based approaches to health. He noted that chronic diseases are one of the most pressing public health challenges facing the Americas today. Because they have multiple causes and risk factors, he said, the response to them requires an "all-of-society approach" that goes beyond health to include education, agriculture, urban planning and other sectors.
In the health sector, there are many proven, cost-effective measures that can help stem the rising tide of chronic diseases. "We have an unprecedented opportunity to save more lives more quickly, with known interventions that work and that focus on prevention,” Andrus said. “The alternative, complacency, is unacceptable."