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Topics & Solutions

In 2010 there were a about four hundred and fifty million people worldwide over the age of sixty-five years, these comprising seven percent of global population. This number will double by the year 2020 and more than triple by the year 2050. Globally there will be about four hundred million people over eighty years of age by the year 2050. The positive aspects of the story are that as the world has become more flat we are much more immediately aware that we all face similar health issues, that tomorrow cannot be postponed, that science can provide therapeutic answers and that people can be empowered to improve their health status and have a better quality of life. Knowledge and understanding thus form the basis for transformative solutions. A concrete example of changing perceptions is that during the influenza pandemic in 1917 no one knew when it would end, a few decades ago few if any would have considered it practicable to contain an airborne viral pandemic such as SARS, which in recent years was contained by a variety of measures including building hospitals in a week in China. Degenerative diseases occur with similar frequency in each country as its population pyramid and lifestyle progresses to that of its neighbors. At present three hundred and fifty million people suffer from diabetes, the prevalence of which increases dramatically as people in developing countries move to a more cereals based diet. As such there is enormous opportunity to transfer the lessons of how diabetes can be prevented and treated from one location to another. The success of India and China and other countries in improving healthcare and education and alleviating poverty in the decades after their successful agricultural economic revolutions and their continued progress therein demonstrates a path of synergy between healthcare, education and economic progress, which needs to applied in the countries in Africa and southeast Asia, which have as yet not been capable of providing a comprehensive range of modern healthcare services.

Global Dimensions

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