A Burmese girl waits for the malaria test results at special clinic for malaria on May 4, 2009 in Sittwe, Arakan state, Myanmar (Burma).


October 2016

In the 1950s, the U.S. government declared that malaria was eliminated from the United States. Due to a highly effective vaccine and a high vaccination rate, the same statement was true for measles in 2000. According to the Centers for Disease Control, for a disease to be eliminated, a region must go 12 or more months without continuous disease transmission.

Despite the eradication of certain health conditions in developed countries like the U.S., Germany and Japan, the same is not true for developing countries. People in countries like Botswana, Uganda and North Korea lose more healthy years of life to certain diseases that no longer pose a threat to the developed world. A bevy of issues can impact a developing region’s risk of disease, including sanitation disparities between countries, the emergence of new diseases and poor health care systems.

Because diseases have varying impacts across the world, the data analysts at HealthGrove, a health research site powered by Graphiq, set out to find the health conditions that affect people in developing countries more than in developed countries.

The list is ranked in ascending order of diseases that impact developing countries the most. Healthy years of life lost encompasses both fatal and non-fatal consequences of these diseases. The number of healthy life years lost is calculated for every 100,000 people.

Many of the conditions on the list — like iodine deficiencies and protein-energy malnutrition — result from undernutrition. Others — like leishmaniasis and lymphatic filariasis — occur when parasites enter the body. Unless vaccination efforts, health care systems, sanitary efforts and education about diseases improve in developing countries, millions of people will remain more at risk than those in developed countries for one of these 58 health concerns.

Note: The criteria to determine what is a developing or developed country comes from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The regions are determined by looking at GDP per capita and educational attainment.

See the Conditions Affecting Developing Countries


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