Essay Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Essay Prevention Is Better Than Cure-27
Dr Maria Suciu, a general practitioner based in the western city of Arad, says: “The amount of money we receive from the National Health Insurance House is very small and we cannot equip our office.” Suciu says that she is unable to carry out even basic diagnostic procedures such as measuring blood sugar and cholesterol levels.She estimates that it would cost €30 000 to equip her office for such tasks with a minilab, and with that equipment 40% of the noncommunicable diseases she sees could be managed much better over the next 10 years.

Dr Maria Suciu, a general practitioner based in the western city of Arad, says: “The amount of money we receive from the National Health Insurance House is very small and we cannot equip our office.” Suciu says that she is unable to carry out even basic diagnostic procedures such as measuring blood sugar and cholesterol levels.She estimates that it would cost €30 000 to equip her office for such tasks with a minilab, and with that equipment 40% of the noncommunicable diseases she sees could be managed much better over the next 10 years.

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There must also be interventions for policy and environmental changes.” He adds: “To effectively address noncommunicable diseases, collaboration is required within and beyond the government sectors.”Suciu does her best to alert patients to the dangers of sedentary lifestyles, smoking, and eating foods that are high in salt, sugar and fat content, but such warnings have their limitations: “Most of my patients do not follow my advice regarding prevention,” she says.

When it comes to our health, prevention is much better than cure.

“Earlier diagnoses have the potential to produce better treatment outcomes, especially with regard to cardiovascular diseases and some cancers,” says Dr Andreas Ullrich, cancer expert at WHO.

Gaita says: “Now it’s time to focus on prevention.”Romania has a national cancer programme, but here, too, the vital prevention components are still missing.

This he blames on the lack of national cardiovascular disease prevention efforts, which, he says, have been limited to a few media campaigns.“There was a national initiative that started with a pilot programme in the Prahova County focused on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases,” he says, but it did not progress much beyond good intentions “due to a combination of cost and a not very positive evaluation of the pilot.”Professor Dan Gaita, president of the Romanian Heart Foundation, echoes Popescu’s view, noting that poor people are particularly affected.

“Poor people have limited access to information and, consequently, have a low level of awareness,” he says. Poor people also smoke more and suffer more from stress which significantly influences the major cardiovascular disease risk factors.”For Gaita the lack of prevention campaigns is only one part of the problem.” The problem with this approach is that it misses important opportunities for risk reduction.There is a clear need for prevention of a disease developing in the first place and, once it has developed, early diagnosis and treatment.Vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer, is an option to further reduce incidence.However, currently due to the inefficiency of the screening programme “detection of cervical cancer is delayed and cervical cancer is diagnosed in advanced stages,” Popescu says. Ioana Gheorghe (not her real name), 75, who lives in the western city of Timisoara went to her general practitioner twice complaining she felt poorly. In his opinion, my condition was perfectly fine for my age.” She had her first stroke shortly thereafter, and then a second following a period of hospitalization.Gheorghe is one of a growing number of Romanians struggling with the debilitating effects of cardiovascular disease – especially heart disease and stroke – which now accounts for an estimated 60% of all deaths in the country, making it far and away the leading cause of death in this nation of 21 million in south eastern Europe.This represents one of the highest levels of cardiovascular disease in the 53-country European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO).For Dr Irinel Popescu, head of the Surgery and Liver Transplantation Centre at Fundeni Hospital, Bucharest, the epidemic of cardiovascular disease is to a large extent driven by lack of awareness among Romanians regarding the importance of diet, exercise and giving up smoking.Several diseases and injuries are preventable, and can be managed much better if identified earlier on.It is common for people only to go to the doctor when they are feeling unwell.

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