Nigeria accounts for 56 % of global polio cases
New data released yesterday by the World Health Organisation (WHO) titled, “World Health Statistics 2012 Report” has alerted on the growing problem of the non-communicable diseases burden.
According to the report, one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure, a condition that causes around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease; while one in 10 adults has diabetes.
Director-General of WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan, said: “This report is further evidence of the dramatic increase in the conditions that trigger heart disease and other chronic illnesses, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. In some African countries, as much as half the adult population has high blood pressure.”
And although no new case of the Wild Polio Virus (WPV) was reported in the last two weeks in Nigeria, the country accounts for 56 per cent of global cases recorded in 2012.
According to the Weekly Polio Update published by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), of the 53 cases recorded so far in 2012, Nigeria contributed 28 cases, which amounts to 56 per cent.
The GPEI, however, said in the first four months of 2012, the lowest number of cases globally over a four-month period has been recorded over the past ten years, with 53 cases from four countries; the bulk of which 95 per cent from the three remaining endemic countries- Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Only three cases have occurred from a non-endemic country; all from Chad, and none since February. “At this time last year, 12 countries had reported 145 cases. More than 50 per cent of this year’s cases are from Nigeria, which now constitutes the global epicenter of polio transmission.”
For the first time, the WHO’s annual statistics report included information from 194 countries on the percentage of men and women with raised blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
In high-income countries, widespread diagnosis and treatment with low-cost medication have significantly reduced mean blood pressure across populations – and this has contributed to a reduction in deaths from heart disease.
In Africa, however, more than 40 per cent, and up to 50 per cent, of adults in many countries are estimated to have high blood pressure. Most of these people remain undiagnosed, although many of these cases could be treated with low-cost medications, which would significantly reduce the risk of death and disability from heart disease and stroke.
Also included for the first time in the World health statistics are data on people with raised blood glucose levels. While the global average prevalence is around 10 per cent, up to one third of populations in some Pacific Island countries have this condition. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness and kidney failure.
The highest obesity levels are in the WHO Region of the Americas (26 per cent of adults) and the lowest in the WHO South-East Asia Region (three per cent obese). In all parts of the world, women are more likely to be obese than men, and thus at greater risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Published annually by WHO, it is the most comprehensive publication of health-related global statistics available. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators including life expectancy, illnesses and deaths from a range of diseases, health services and treatments, financial investment in health, as well as risk factors and behaviours that affect health.
A key trend in this year’s report is that in 20 years, the number of maternal deaths has decreased from more than 540 000 deaths in 1990 to less than 290 000 in 2010 – a decline of 47 per cent. One third of these maternal deaths occur in just two countries – India with 20 per cent of the global total and Nigeria with 14 per cent