Silent killer, economic opportunity: rethinking non-communicable disease

    Publication year: 2012

    Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a major global challenge, one that causes most of the deaths and disability among humans. These diseases are not transmissible from one person to another. They include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and mental health disorders, but exclude injuries. Together, they caused 36 million deaths in 2008, more than three out of five deaths worldwide, and accounted for half of global disability. About one-quarter of deaths occur before the age of 60, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. Without preventive action, the number of deaths under 60 in poor countries will rise from 3.8 million each year to 5.1 million by 2030.1 For low-income countries, the challenge of NCDs compounds the difficulties of addressing infectious diseases, creating a double burden that causes poverty and slows development. The World Economic Forum predicts that NCDs will result in a cumulative loss in global economic output of $47 trillion, or 5% of GDP, by 2030, principally through heart disease, stroke, alcohol misuse and depression in high-and upper-middle-income countries