Non-communicable disease and development: future pathways

From a biomedical perspective, non-communicable disease (NCD) is not a new problem, particularly in the global North. However, awareness of the increasing burden from these conditions in low- and middle-income countries (L&MICs) has only recently emerged in the arena of development policy and practice. In September 2011, the United Nations convened a summit on NCD, only the second such meeting ever to address a disease matter. However, despite a declaration reiterating the importance of NCD, few concrete actions emerged. The focus of the meeting was only on the conditions included in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) core definition of NCD, diseases which share a defined set of individual-level risk factors and collectively constitute a substantial proportion of the disease burden: cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic respiratory diseases, certain cancers and diabetes.