Each year, 16 million people die prematurely before the age of 70 from NCDs. Strikingly, 4 out of 5 of these deaths occur in developing countries, making such diseases one of the major development challenges of the 21st century. If countries don’t change tack on NCDs, an estimated $7 trillion could be lost in developing countries over the next 15 years. This contrasts starkly with the cost of action: $11 billion a year to implement a set of NCD “best buy” interventions in all developing countries.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the huge impact of NCDs worldwide – an issue that the Millennium Development Goals did not address. The aim is to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030 (SDG target 3.4), strengthen implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (3.a), strengthen the prevention and treatment to reduce the harmful use of alcohol (3.5), support the research and development on medicines for NCDs that primarily affect developing countries (3.b), and achieve universal health coverage (3.8). This historic turning point for our world to include NCDs in the scope and character of the Sustainable Development Goals is grounded in the commitments made by world leaders at two high-level meetings of the UN General Assembly in 2011 and 2014 to track the epidemic proportions of NCDs and its impact on development, make prevention the cornerstone of the global response, and strengthen health systems.