Public health

MSK diseases an afterthought in global health policy 

Thursday, 17 Oct 2019

Musculoskeletal health conditions and persistent pain may be leading causes of global morbidity but they do not feature as prominently as other diseases in global health policy, research shows. 

An analysis of 44 health policies from 30 OECD member states found that while most covered cancer (83%), cardiovascular disease (76.6%), diabetes/ endocrine disorders (76.6%), respiratory conditions (63.3%) and mental health (63.3%) only half the countries listed musculoskeletal health and pain (50.0%) as a specific focus. 

However, many general prevention and management strategies outlined in the policies (95.5%) were relevant to musculoskeletal health improvement, noted the authors led by Professor Andrew Briggs from the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University in Perth. 

“Meaningful population health gains in musculoskeletal health and pain outcomes may be limited until these health states are explicitly integrated into national policy, programme and financing models for non-communicable diseases prevention and management, and into the WHO non-communicable diseases monitoring framework,” they concluded in their paper published in BMJ Global Health. 

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