Health Cost

Feb 22, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka faces rising health care costs as the population ages with an increase in non-communicable diseases (NCD) like diabetes, heart disease, cancers and asthma, a recent World Bank study said. “More effective legislation on the use of trans fats and tobacco and educating the public to reduce salt and sugar intake would help delay the onset of NCDs,” McLaughlin said.

“NCD’s account for about 85 percent of the disease burden in the island,” Micheal Engelgau, senior public health specialist, health, nutrition and population, South Asia region, World Bank said.

“The disease burden is now shifting from maternal and child health and infectious diseases towards NCDs.”

During the past 50 years deaths due to heart disease and stroke have risen from three percent to 24 percent while that due to infectious disease have dropped from 24 percent to 12 percent.

The report says the burden of NCDs will rise in the future due to an aging population. The population of people over 65 years will double over the next 30 years from 12.1 percent to 24.4 percent.

“Life expectancy gains for men are far less than for women,” Engelgau said.

“Females have made steady gains since the 1920s wh