A team of researchers from around the world, including our own Samantha Bunzli, recently released a report outlining a set of global health priorities with the aim of improving the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases. The report analysed the policies of 30 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Member States to better understand current policy trends. In the words of its lead author Professor Andrew Briggs, the report found that:
“Most countries have policies that focused on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory conditions and mental health. We identified that although musculoskeletal conditions, such as chronic back pain, were considered explicitly by some countries, there was still a significant gap in terms of prioritised attention towards musculoskeletal health.”
This policy oversight is particularly worrying given that musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoarthritis and chronic lower back pain, cause a substantial share of the disability experienced around the world. Some OECD countries, including Australia, do have policies that cover all chronic conditions. However, these policies are not always specifically constructed to tackle the distinct barriers to managing chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
The report calls for leading national and global health agencies to prioritise more specific prevention and management policy, and improve monitoring of population-level health outcomes relevant to musculoskeletal conditions.
To view the full report, click here.
To view a paper outlining the research that help motivate the report, which was published in BMJ Global Health, click here.