The spread of western disease: 'The poor are dying more and more like the rich'
In rich countries, the biggest killers are strokes, heart attacks and cancer, accounting for more than two-thirds of all deaths. But for the poorer world, people often assume that infectious diseases like diarrhea, tuberculosis, Aids, malaria, measles and tetanus are the biggest killers. That is no longer true. While they are still substantial threats, broader availability of medication and vaccines along with higher living standards has caused such communicable diseases to drop dramatically to below 9 million deaths each year.
For the first time, more people in the developing world now die from strokes and heart attacks than infectious diseases. Combined, the diseases that are not infectious – the so-called non-communicable diseases or NCDs – cause almost two-thirds of all deaths in the developing world, about 23 million each year. In short, the poor are dying more and more like the rich.