April 1, 2023


Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer are responsible for nearly three-quarters of global deaths, but are often “neglected and underfunded” because so few people understand their true impact, a new study shows. Report An article by the World Health Organization on Wednesday urged countries to address the problem with proven, cost-effective and accessible interventions.

key facts

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are one of the most significant public health and development challenges of this century, with inaction causing more deaths than infectious diseases, the World Health Organization said in a report released at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

NCDs kill around 17 million people prematurely each year, with people under the age of 70 dying every two seconds, the report said.

The vast majority (86%) of these premature deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, and many could have been “prevented by investing in proven, cost-effective interventions,” the report found. Say US billionaire Michael Bloomberg, WHO ambassador for noncommunicable diseases.

While all UN member states have pledged to reduce premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by a third by 2030 – one of the UN’s sustainable development goals – few are on track to achieve this, the report said. a goal.

The World Health Organization estimates that while many risk factors for NCDs are well known — tobacco use and unhealthy diets cause more than 8 million deaths each year, another 1.7 million drink alcohol and 830,000 are physically inactive — the report says there are few Take any action because many people just don’t understand the scale of the problem.

The organization estimates that at least 39 million NCD deaths could be avoided by 2030 if “every country adopted interventions that are known to be effective”.


41 million people. The World Health Organization estimates that this is the number of people who die each year from non-communicable diseases globally. Cardiovascular disease — a range of diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels — is the world’s biggest killer, killing 17.9 million people each year, the report found. The other major NCDs are cancer (9.3 million deaths per year), chronic respiratory diseases (4.1 million) and diabetes (2 million), which are the world’s number one killers. In addition to death, every NCD can have a huge impact on the quality of life of those affected and make them more susceptible to other diseases. The WHO said this was illustrated during the Covid-19 pandemic, with patients with NCDs facing worse outcomes than those with NCDs. Covid has been the third leading cause of death for the past two years, after heart disease and cancer.

key background

Advances in public health in recent decades mean that infectious diseases are no longer the leading cause of premature death globally.This problem has been known for decades in many rich countries, and now in rapidly developing countries such as China, although these health emergencies are often more insidious than infectious disease outbreaks. The intangible nature of NCDs is that, while more is known about their causes, they often do not receive funding and public health efforts commensurate with their impact. This applies to all countries, not just the less wealthy ones, which the report says can improve. It highlights that relatively small investments in NCD prevention and treatment can yield huge gains. “The data paint a clear picture,” the WHO report said. “The problem is that the world isn’t paying attention to it.”


WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organization had extended Bloomberg’s appointment as a global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases and injuries for another two years. Bloomberg is a billionaire who co-founded financial information and media company Bloomberg LP in 1981 and served for 12 years as mayor of New York City, a position he was first appointed to in 2016. Next, we saw the importance of addressing a major risk factor in Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths — non-communicable diseases,” Bloomberg said. Non-communicable diseases “are the world’s biggest silent killers. — but they can often be prevented by investing in proven, cost-effective interventions,” he added.

Forbes Valuation

$76.8 billion.This is Bloomberg’s estimated net worth, according to Forbes real-time tracker. This makes him the 13th richest person in the world at the time of writing.Bloomberg has donated billions of dollars to charities, much of it to initiatives aimed at addressing the risk factors that drive NCDs, such as reduce Tobacco use.

Further reading

Invisible numbers: The true scale of NCDs (WHO)

China’s ‘hidden epidemic’: preventable diseases that could reshape a country (guardian)

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