Dividing public health campaigns into disease types found to be ineffective

New research published by Danish scientists suggests that dividing public health campaigns into those that combat either communicable or non-communicable diseases is expensive and ineffective.

The World Health Organization predicted that by 2030, the relationship between communicable and non-communicable diseases will have shifted in the world's poorest countries. Longer life spans and increased urbanization are expected to make deaths from non-communicable disease more predominant, according to

"This development means that 57 percent of the world's deaths in 2030 will be due to the major non-communicable killers we know from the developed world: cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, diabetes and many types of cancer," professor Ib Bygbjerg from the University of Copenhagen, said, reports.

Bygbjerg, in a study published in the journal Science, said it is a mistake, however, to believe that communicable and non-communicable diseases should be treated as separate entities when they are inexorably linked.

"This practice ignores many new research results showing, among other things, that many types of cancer are caused by viral infections, while communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, for example, can only be fought effectively by also looking at tobacco and alcohol consumption," Bygbjerg said, according to

The professor said that integrated programs are going to be the key to public health efforts in the future.

"Naturally the main idea is that since we know that patients often suffer from several diseases, and that various diseases and their treatments influence each other, it is pointless to continue to develop large health program that only focus on fighting one single disease," Bygbjerg said, reports.