Non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancers, cause 8 million premature deaths every year in low- and middle-income countries. The World Health Organization estimates that global deaths from these diseases will continue to rise over the next 10 years, with the African region expected to see the highest relative increase (27%). An increasing body of evidence shows that the human and financial impact of disease is undermining the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The omission of non-communicable disease indicators from the Millennium Development Goals has been a critical barrier to securing donor funding for non-communicable diseases. Ann Keeling describes the threat to development posed by noncommunicable diseases, and highlights some key achievements in the global campaign to tackle the growing pandemic.
NCD, non-communicable disease