The NCD Movement

NCDs: A Social Justice Issue

80% of deaths from NCDs occur in developing countries, where people have lower access to medicines, health care and healthy lifestyles. NCDs can push families into poverty, and poverty in turn worsens NCDs. The opportunity to survive should not be defined by income and geography. Yet it is.

NCDs: A Threat to Our Children’s Future

Our children are growing up more susceptible to NCDs than previous generations due to forces outside their control. Low birth weight can predispose babies to getting diabetes and heart disease later in life. And the marketing of fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco to children and adolescents has led to the rising prevalence of NCDs. Children have a right to health and a life free of disease.

NCDs Are Preventable

According to The Lancet’s series Chronic Disease and Development, physical inactivity and poor diets together cause about half of the deaths (up to 17 million) from NCDs worldwide. By championing physical activity and better foods, we can have a significant and positive impact millions of lives.

According to the WHO, eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity and avoiding tobacco use can prevent:

• 80% of premature heart disease
• 80% of type 2 diabetes cases, and
• 40% of cancers

In September 2011, the UN General Assembly held the first ever UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases. This represented the second time in history that a health-focused UN Summit took place – the first one was on HIV/AIDS in 2001. This Summit addressed the threat posed by NCDs to low- and middle-income countries. World leaders, many of them heads of state, gathered at the United Nations in New York to find solutions to the growing danger posed by NCDs. They issued a Political Declaration that called NCDs one of the greatest health and development challenges of the century and called for coordinated global action against these very serious diseases. Subsequently, the world has committed to reducing the mortality from NCDs by 25% by year 2025 and has made many strides in getting NCDs included in the global dialogue on post-2015 Developmental agenda.

Arogya World’s Role in this Movement

We now have an unprecedented opportunity to rally the world around NCDs, and wish that governments, public health advocates, development agencies, donors, media and civil society step up to the plate and take responsibility to tackle the problem head-on. With millions of lives on the line, the time to act is now.

We at Arogya World feel fortunate that we are active participants in the NCD movement which is quickly gathering momentum, and that we are contributing to it with advocacy and public health programs. These are indeed historic times in global health. As we make progress against infectious disease including polio and HIV/AIDS, and maternal and child mortality, the world is recognizing the threat of NCDs and that they are indeed changing the face of global health as we know it.

Learn more by reading our 2012 Op-Ed Series.