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“People are living longer, but with more disease and disability: an unprecedented transition from a world with communicable diseases to one with chronic disease and disability, with implications for welfare of people worldwide.” In his comment, Rifat Atun, Director of Global Health Systems Cluster at the Harvard School of Public Health, reflects upon the important findings emerging from a new analysis—the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, published on The Lancet. In this analysis, the incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability (YLDs) for 301 diseases and injuries is estimated at different levels, employing new data and improved methods that are clearly presented. According to Atun, the analysis has vital importance in improving the transparency of global health data and research methods. The comment also stresses the urgent need for a radical rethink of health systems to face the burden of multimorbidity and disability brought about by the transition.

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