The Defeat-NCD Partnership
The Partnership was born from the recognition that NCDs are now the major contributor to the global burden of disease. They kill at least 40 million people each year, the equivalent to 70% of all deaths globally. Each year, there are 15 million “premature” deaths (i.e., below the age of 70 years) from NCDs. Continuing with business as usual will increase this by a third by 2030. NCDs are not just medical problems. They have huge personal, social and economic impacts and their rising prevalence is a serious setback for human and national development.
Diabetes and Hypertension
Their focus on diabetes and hypertension is justified by the public health burden. Each, on its own and in combination, cause most of the global NCD deaths. At the same time, the risk factors that lead to raised blood sugar and blood pressure are reducible. Both diabetes and hypertension are easily treatable and their complications largely avoidable.
The Defeat-NCD Partnership prioritises poorer countries because they bear the brunt of the enormous impact of NCDs with some 48% of premature deaths occurring in low and lower-middle income countries. The resident of a low-income country faces a lifetime chance of 20-30% of dying from an NCD under the age of 70; this is two-to-four-fold higher than the equivalent risk for a high-income country resident. Meanwhile, when poor countries start getting a little more prosperous, the prevalence of NCD risk factors tend to initially increase.
The Partnership recognises that NCDs are now the major contributor to the global burden of disease. Diabetes and hypertension along with the other non-communicable diseases cause cumulative economic losses in low- and middle-income countries estimated at US$ 7 trillion for 2011-2025. This sum far outweighs the estimated annual US$ 11.4 billion cost of interventions to reduce the burden. Meanwhile, less than 2% of global development assistance for health goes to NCDs of which only a miniscule share is for diabetes and hypertension.
Resource poor countries are constrained by several factors in their response to NCDs. To start with, poorer people are more vulnerable because they are more likely to have to endure unhealthy living and working conditions. They are less able to afford the healthier lifestyle options. They are also often less educated on the risks without having the knowledge to manage them. These countries can have weak institutional capacities and invest less in prevention, public health protection, and curative care. Furthermore, prevalent inequalities mean that the poorest groups can least afford the remedies on offer that include a lifetime of medication.
Special attention is also needed for the hundreds of millions of people suffering humanitarian concerns. These are the people seriously affected or displaced by disasters and conflicts. Their life chances if they suffer from NCDs are known to be severely compromised by the discontinuities in provision that happen in crisis contexts.See more