Accessibility statement

Chronic diseases through the lens

In 2014 chronic diseases represent the leading cause of mortality in the world. As such there are currently major regional and national efforts not only to promote good health but also to prevent and control major chronic diseases and their risk factors. However, at the same time it is recognised that chronic diseases are not as high on the agenda of many governments as some infectious diseases.

The drive to direct more attention at these health issues has a long history, and there is a pressing need to know more about how campaigns were structured and initiatives advocated in the past. The proposed research project seeks to uncover part of this history by focussing on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recently catalogued photographic archive. The project takes different chronic diseases in turn, exploring what measures were taken to conceptualise, photograph and publicise them as part of advocacy efforts, and the attendant shifts over time. This project examines how the WHO pictured the impression left by chronic diseases on individuals, families, communities and nations, and the steps taken to control chronic conditions. Behind these striking, emotive images lies a complex administrative story with the potential to fill in the picture of chronic disease advocacy, why we are where we are today on the issue.