Many countries are falling behind on their commitments to reduce premature mortality from chronic diseases or non-communicable diseases (NCDs), a new report in The Lancet has stated.
NCDs currently kill over 40 million people a year across the world, making up seven out of ten deaths globally, the report states. As many as 17 million of these deaths are of people below the age of 70 years, and are classed as premature – the majority (15 million) of these deaths are between 30 and 70 years.
Although premature mortality from NCDs is declining in most countries, the pace of change is too slow to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of 3.4 (SDG target 3.4 is to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by a third by 2030, relative to 2015 levels).
Among high income countries, only Denmark, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and South Korea are on track to meet the SDG target for both men and women, if they maintain or surpass their recent rates of progress.
These are the findings of the second edition of the NCD Countdown 2030 report, published on Thursday in The Lancet, ahead of the Global Week of Action on NCDs next week. The first NCD Countdown report was released in 2018.
In 2015, world leaders signed up to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 of a one-third reduction in deaths of people aged between 30 and 70 years from four key NCDs – cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes – by 2030. The NCD Countdown 2030 report, led by Imperial College London, the World Health Organisation, and the NCD Alliance, states that the global goal to reduce premature mortality from NCDs by one third by 2030 is still achievable, but many countries are falling short.
“No country can reach that target by simply addressing a single disease – what is needed is a package of measures and a strong health system, which addresses prevention, early detection and treatment tailored to the national situation,” said Majid Ezzati, professor of Global Environmental Health at Imperial College London, who led the study.
“Young people must lead the fight against NCDs,” said Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director of Non-communicable Diseases, WHO. “An estimated 150 million people will lose their lives too early from a non-communicable disease over the next decade, and right now, NCDs are intensifying the impact of Covid-19. We must ensure all NCDs are addressed in Covid-19 recovery plans, so we can turn this deadly tide.”
“Covid-19 has exposed how failure to invest in effective public health to prevent NCDs and provide health care for people living with NCDs can come back to bite us,” said Katie Dain, CEO, NCD Alliance.