The good news for developing nations is that many are beginning to get some of the infectious diseases that have long plagued their populations under control. Unfortunately, the burden of disease is shifting to chronic diseases. Of particular concern is cardiovascular disease. From 1990 to 2020, it is expected to increase by 137%. It is impacting people in developing countries at younger ages than here which affects their economic productivity and therefore the well being of their families.
In the United States, when someone develops a heart condition, pacemakers and defibrillators (ICDs) provide fairly easy remedies. In developing nations these devices are not an option when they cost upwards of $8,000 and the average wage is between $50 and $100 a month. It is estimated that 1 to 2 million lives could be saved or enhanced with a pacemaker or defibrillator.
"How can we get these people pacemakers?" you may be asking yourself. Well, there is something we can do to help. People may opt to donate their pacemakers. A study conducted by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center found that 90% of their participants would be willing to donate their device to be sent overseas, but few knew that the option existed or how to go about doing so. If a person is receiving a device upgrade (i.e. from a pacemaker to a defibrillator) and the device has enough battery life left, a patient can request to have the device and donate it to charity.
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