Saving lives, spending less: the case for investing in noncommunicable diseases
A new WHO report shows that close to 7 million deaths could be prevented by 2030 if low- and lower-middle-income countries were to make an additional investment of less than a dollar per person per year in the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs – including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and respiratory disease – currently cause 7 out of every 10 deaths around the world. Yet their impact on lower income countries is often underestimated, despite the fact that 85% of premature deaths (between ages 30–69) from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries, making them a huge health and socioeconomic burden. The vast majority of those deaths can be prevented using WHO’s tried and tested NCD Best Buy interventions. These include cost effective measures to reduce tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, improve diets, increase physical activity, reduce risks from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and prevent cervical cancer. Keeping people healthy reduces health costs, increases productivity and leads to longer and healthier lives. Saving lives, spending less: the case for investing in noncommunicable diseases focuses on 76 low- and lower-middle-income countries. The report explains the NCD Best Buys and shows how every dollar invested in scaling up Best Buy actions in these countries could generate a return of up to US$ 7 – potentially US$ 230 billion by 2030.