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The Global Week for Action on NCDs is a global campaign led by the NCD Alliance - uniting civil society, relevant private sector organisations, NGOs, decisionmakers and people living with chronic illnesses (NCDs) around a specific theme.

Explore more about NCDs and this year's investment theme and get access to resources and experts for your news story below.

 

Facts on NCD investment

NCDs are a pandemic generated by neglect. They cause 41 million deaths per year, yet 80% can be prevented or delayed into old age through cost-effective interventions.

  • Forty-one million people die every year due to an NCD, accounting for 74% of all deaths worldwide; and annual deaths from NCDs are projected to escalate to 52 million by 2030.
  • Despite the catastrophic and growing global toll of NCDs, they are the most underfunded global health issue relative to the billions of people impacted. The proportion of total Development Assistance for Health dedicated to NCDs has remained unacceptably low for the past 30 years, at just 1-2%, with two-thirds allocated to infectious diseases and a quarter to maternal and child health conditions.
  • Without investment in NCDs, economies will continue to be depleted by the direct and indirect costs of NCDs. Noncommunicable diseases reduce productivity and human capital, while increasing healthcare costs from serious illness, disability and death.
  • Together, the five leading NCDs – cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes and mental health and neurological conditions – have been estimated to cost more than US$ 2 trillion per year (or US$ 47 trillion between 2011-2030). Annual losses due to NCDs range from 3.5% – 5.9% of total GDP, and the amount they will cost developing countries alone between 2011 and 2025 will be $7 trillion dollars, equivalent to the combined annual GDP of France, Spain and Germany.

  • By introducing a realistic and cost-effective package of 21 NCD prevention and treatment interventions, governments could avert 39 million deaths in low- and middle-income countries. These interventions could generate an average net economic benefit of $2·7 trillion, or $390 per capita, between 2023 and 2030. Implementing this set of interventions would require an additional investment of US$18 billion annually over the same seven-year period--the equivalent of the world's health ministries collectively dedicating 20% of their budgets to NCDs. The economic benefits of implementing this package outweigh the investment.
  • Financing NCDs in developing countries will require a mixture of domestic financing and catalytic development aid. Domestic NCD financing efforts should start by enhancing public finance capability through general taxation or social health insurance, coupled with fiscal reforms. Removing subsidies or imposing taxes on health-harming goods, such as fossil fuels and sugar, plays a crucial role in NCD financing and generates resources while preventing NCDs and protecting public health.
  • Taxes and regulations on unhealthy products are key interventions to improve population health and generate funds that can be channelled into NCD prevention and treatment, but these policies are usually met with strong opposition from the industries concerned. A priority for collective action is to counter industry efforts to influence policies at the expense of our health. Watch these short videos to see how Mexico and Barbados are taking action against the ultra-processed food industry.

There can be no health security until we get a grip on NCDs.

  • NCDs represent a pandemic in their own right, but when mixed with an infectious disease outbreak, the result is devastating to health systems and the communities they serve. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed how vital prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of NCDs are for maintaining strong health systems and their capacity to respond to virus outbreaks with pandemic potential.
  • The lack of investment in NCDs over the years has amplified the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic: 1.7 billion people, equivalent to 22% of the global population, live with at least one NCD that puts them at increased risk of severe COVID-19. People living with one or more NCDs, most often hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease or obesity have accounted for 60-90% of COVID-19 deaths.
  • NCD investment must be an integral part of national pandemic preparedness and response plans, and a priority for international preparedness instruments and funds.

Chronic diseases are a major 21st century social justice issue: they push poor households further into poverty and prevent developing countries from achieving strong and sustainable economies.

  • Although the NCD burden is universal, low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are the hardest hit. Over 85% of premature deaths between the ages of 30 and 70 from NCDs occur in poorer countries. This makes NCDs far more than a health issue – they are a major human rights and equity issue, as they disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable populations with disease, disability and death.
  • NCDs are both a cause and a consequence of poverty. Catastrophic expenses due to out-of-pocket payments for NCD treatment push an estimated 100 million people worldwide into extreme poverty every year. COVID‑19 and its containment measures have exacerbated these inequities and created new vulnerabilities.
  • We have seen this pattern of inequity before: the early days of the HIV/AIDS pandemic was marked by discrimination and access to treatment, issues that were overcomes in many parts of the world by working with affected communities.

Investment in NCDs offers the world’s greatest potential to save and improve lives by 2030, generate billions of dollars, and strengthen health systems to protect populations.

In September 2022, the Global Week for Action on NCDs will unite the NCD and sustainable development movement around the urgent need for increased NCD financing to prevent and treat NCDs and build resilient health systems that leave no one behind.

*Event* Invest to Protect: NCDs as an investment priority to boo

In the lead up to the Second Global NCD Financing Dialogue that will take place in 2023, the NCD Alliance intends to bring focus to the urgency of investing in NCD prevention and care as the only way to achieve the SDG target 3.4. Scaling up and accelerating action on NCDs is the fulfilment of a commitment by governments that is critical to addressing health inequalities and should be considered as a fundamental human rights issue. 

Organised on the occasion of the Global Week for Action (GW4A) on NCDs, this event will start the discussion on what success at the Second WHO Global NCD Financing Dialogue in 2023 might look like, and what it will take to achieve this.

It will seek to unpack the priorities set out in the NCDA financing brief “Invest to Protect: NCD financing as the foundation for healthy societies and economies”, harnessing the momentum of GW4A as a unifying platform for the global NCD movement to call upon governments, organisations, and individuals to act on NCD prevention and care and to leave no one behind.

In this context the event will:

  • Reinforce the investment case for NCD prevention and control, proven cost-effective interventions, as well as the imperative for NCD investment within the context of pandemic preparedness and response.
  • Reflect on the landscape, challenges and opportunities for accelerating NCD financing globally, and specific priorities for mobilizing sustainable financing for NCDs across domestic resources, development aid, innovative financing, and public-private partnerships.
  • Explore the opportunity of a second planned WHO Global NCD Financing Dialogue in 2023, including perspectives on what success would look like (in terms of process and outcomes) and a roadmap of what it will take to achieve this.

When:

Thursday 8 September, 09:30 – 11:00 EDT / 15:30 – 17:00 CET.

Register for the Invest to Protect event

 

Quotes from Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance

Use these quotes freely:

“Unless countries follow through on commitments to reduce mortality from noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, we'll be nursing a huge part of the global population living with chronic conditions. And most of this preventable suffering, illness and death will be amongst people living in in poorer communities. We can avoid that future scenario by investing in cost-effective policies now.”
Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance
“Many NCDs can be prevented through a set of cost-effective interventions. We have the solutions, we have the tools, we have the know-how to prevent and treat NCDs. What's needed is political will at the highest level.”
Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance
“You need a really strong Civil Society movement at country and global level to keep the pressure up, to hold governments to account for the commitments and the financing priorities that they've made.”
Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance
“Keeping citizens healthy from preventable NCDs is not simply about a government’s choice to invest in health, it is an investment in a country’s economic stability and security, in its own pandemic preparedness.”
Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance
“Sweeping changes, including legislation, were made in a matter of weeks to protect the public from COVID-19. We need the same urgency to stop the premature morbidity and mortality caused by NCDs.”
Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance

Additional Resources

See how NCDA partners are walking the talk to help increase NCD investment in this series of blogs. Keep an eye on this section – blogs are being added as we get closer to the Global Week for Action!

 

Read real-life accounts from people living with NCDs on how NCD investment - or lack thereof - affects their lives and disease management. The NCD Diaries are available in audio, written, and photographic formats.

 

Seeing is believing!

Key facts about why we need to act on NCDs and the NCD investment case in two infographics.

 

Need something for sharing on social media?

See our collection of vox pops on NCD investment from NCD Alliance CEO Katie Dain and others. Or, watch some short videos on diverse NCD-related topics.

Further reading on NCDs

Key NCD Alliance contacts

  • Michael Kessler NCD Alliance media consultant
    michael.kessler@intoon-media.com 

  • Jimena Marquez NCD Alliance Communications Director
    jmarquez@ncdalliance.org