Ala Al’wan M.D. was the head of non-communicable diseases at WHO. He now is the Director General of the EMRO Region of WHO. He was one of the most important people to help the world shift its attention to Non-communicable diseases, especially WHO. Communicable diseases commanded most of the attention at WHO and world wide, which was rightly so the early part of the century.
Epidemics of small pox, rheumatic fever, and influenza resulted in 90% of the deaths due to communicable disease. Also eradication of small pox occurred which wasunprecedented as well as antibiotics.
of infectious diseases became lesser and lesser, vaccinations markedly
reduced early childhood disease.
It was during this time that NCDs were viewed as diseases of old age, primarily of genetic origin. However after WWII with the reduction of infectious disease there began to be a rapid creeping up of cardiovascular diseases, Cancer, diabetes and injuries in Developed countries, about 20 years later the same occurred in developing countries.
Now after 2000 the causes of death are dramatically different with Coronary heart disease and stroke being the major causes of death in the world. Clearly infectious disease are a problem, but NCD is much great. Much more is spent by WHO and governments to combat infectious diseases despite the fact that even in the poorest countries NCDs continue to relentlessly kill.