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The WHO video on chronic illness acts as a revelation, for the reason that it provides the audience with a view of the chronic health conditions in the developing countries. It serves to dispel numerous myths and misconceptions about the suffering of people in the third world countries from what have traditionally been viewed as lifestyle diseases, mostly affecting residents of the developing countries.
People have tended to assume that the third world countries were immune or at least not prone to conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart attacks, among others (WHO, 2014). Despite the assumptions, the video dismisses this information by indicating that 80% of the people who die come from low and middle-income nations.
In addition, they are likely to affect women and children as they would affect men. The video contains several personal stories of victims from developing countries, most of whom are living in poverty and have been severely affected by chronic diseases.
The stories focused on people living with chronic diseases and the underlying risks, given that today millions of people are dying, and many others are becoming disabled because of chronic diseases (WHO, 2014). The stories are aimed at raising the awareness. They demonstrate the very deep and personal impact of the diseases on individuals, their families, and communities.
Are individual behaviors to blame?
Individuals are not necessarily responsible for getting chronic conditions since, although the causes are known, many people often suffer from them even when they have not been exposed. In addition, some of them are genetic and/or environmental, which limits the extent to which potential victims can take actions.
However, in some cases, individuals’ lifestyles significantly contribute to their vulnerability. For example, someone who consumes excess amounts of junk food or alcohol would have relatively high chances of suffering from diabetes.
Similarly, a heavy smoker would also be at a high risk of suffering from cancer because of his or her lifestyle (WHO, 2014). Nonetheless, the idea that nothing can be done is fallacious, since there are numerous measures that an individual can take to protect himself or herself.
These include regular exercises, a healthy diet, and frequent medical checkups. While they might not eliminate the risks of getting a condition, such as cancer or diabetes, risks would be significantly reduced.
Developed vs. developing countries
While chronic diseases are for the most part preventable, governments and health organizations in many third world countries have found it very difficult to address them due to several factors. In developing nations, the education levels are very low, which result in ignorance that complicates efforts to provide citizens with health education.
In some societies, people refuse to accept the connection between lifestyle and illness, and blame supernatural powers or witchcraft. In addition, owing to insufficient funds and/or research data in relation to the scope of the problem, efforts to address these problems are often disorganized.
Hence, they tend not to be very effective. Conversely, on the West, an educated population takes the issue very seriously, and many studies have been carried out on it, which makes it comparatively easy to address the matter (WHO, 2014).
However, in the developed nations, there is a unique challenge because, despite the awareness of the risk factors, people often ignore them. In low-income nations, the main challenge is to get sufficient resources to fight the diseases, while, in the high-income ones, it is to educate people about the risks of chronic diseases.
WHO. (Executive producer). (2014). Face to face with chronic disease. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO.