NCDs Weighing Heavily On Jamaica’s Economy

The economic impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Jamaica, including mental-health conditions, will lead to a lost output of US$17.2 billion over the next 15 years. This is according to a 2011 study by founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, and dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, Julio Frenk, titled 'The Global Economic Burden of Non-Communicable Diseases', which found that it is expected to cost more than US$30 trillion to treat and manage NCDs globally over the next 20 years, pushing millions of people worldwide below the poverty line.

NCDs have been established as a clear threat, not only to human health, but also to development and economic growth, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Economists are increasingly expressing concern that NCDs will result in long-term macroeconomic impacts on labour supply, capital accumulation and gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide, with the consequences most severe in developing countries like Jamaica.

Director of non-communicable diseases and injuries prevention in the Ministry of Health, Dr Tamu Davidson-Sadler, said Jamaicans suffering from an NCD could spend up to one-third of their household income to treat and manage their condition.

"Out-of-pocket expenditure to treat NCDs is extremely high. We know that treating and managing NCDs have a significant impact on the country's budget and GDP, and we are actually seeing where data have shown that the economic loss due to treating NCDs, including mental health, is estimated to be 18 times Jamaica's health expenditure in 2013," said Davidson-Sadler. READ MORE

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