Global Study of 10,000 Women Reveals Deep Impact of Non-Communicable Diseases on Women and Families

Posted on: September 23rd, 2014 by Arogya World

Arogya World and Partners Commit to use Study Data to Influence Policy on Non-Communicable Diseases

New York, September 23, 2014 —A new mobile phone and web-based survey of 10,000 women – Insights from 10,000 Women on the Impact of NCDs – in 10 countries around the world shows that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of women surveyed say someone in their household suffers from a Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) —heart disease, diabetes, cancer or chronic lung disease.

About 30% of the women in Brazil, India, Kenya, South Africa and Indonesia reported spending more than 25 percent of household income on NCD care.

“We believe this study will influence the global dialogue on NCDs in a post-2015 world. We urge policymakers to implement NCD programs and empower women to steer their families towards healthy living,” said Dr. Nalini Saligram, founder and CEO of Arogya World.

Arogya World made a Commitment to Action at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting to gather 10,000 women’s voices on the impact of NCDs with the partnership and support of Novartis, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, American Cancer Society, UNICEF, Population Services International, Abt SRBI and Jana.

The study report is being launched today at the 2014 CGI Annual Meeting. Click here for report. The 10 countries where women were surveyed include: Afghanistan, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

More key findings:

  • Caregiving has an impact on women’s economic status. Half of the women (49 percent) overall report they provide care for household members affected by NCDs, including six in 10 or more in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and South Africa. Two in 10 women (21 percent) reported that providing NCD care limits or prevents their participation in the labor force.
  • Financial burden from NCDs is substantial, and a big drain on family resources. Nearly one-quarter of the women in our study spend more than 25 percent of their household income on NCDs, and 7 percent of women surveyed said that NCD treatment consumes more than half of their household’s income.
  • Obesity is the top health concern. Overall, one-quarter of all women said the single health issue they were most concerned about for their household was being overweight (26 percent). In Mexico—the most obese country in the world according to the UN—nearly half of women say they are most concerned about their household being overweight.

Says Ken Gaalswyk, Vice President, International Research, Abt SRBI, “Data will be critical in informing actions and interventions both locally and globally to mitigate the growing impact of NCDs in the years to come. We are pleased we were able to use our research know-how to implement this important survey across the globe, leveraging mobile and web technologies, key assets in health communications.”

Arogya World will work with all its partners and other global health organizations to take the 10,000 women’s voices to global health leaders and policymakers everywhere. Joining hands and lending their heft are two coalitions–the Task Force on NCDs and Women’s Health and the NCD Roundtable. Both are working with Arogya World to disseminate these and other important tools that will inform governments and civil society partners and help to shape a global response to NCDs. Preliminary results were shared with multiple stakeholders including leaders in global health and government, at an event held by Arogya World at the United Nations in July (

Additional resources

  • Arogya World has published a series of videos, “Her Story, in Her Voice: Women Living with NCDs,” that document the stories of women both living with NCDs and caring for family members with NCDs. These videos were created to show the faces and personal stories of the women behind the statistics.
  • Arogya World has also released several infographics that help tell the story of the impact of NCDs on women and families, and will encourage action via social media.

NCDs, non-communicable diseases, represent the world’s leading cause of death. While they are the culprits in 63 percent of all mortalities worldwide, they affect women in unique ways. Collectively these diseases, which include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers and chronic lung disease, kill 18 million women each year and represent the leading cause of death among females, according to the World Health Organization.


About Arogya World

Arogya World ( is a global health non-profit organization, committed to changing the course of chronic disease, one community at a time. Arogya means ‘good health’ in Sanskrit and denotes living life without disease. The organization believes deeply in prevention, advocates for NCD prevention globally, and in India, implements programs for diabetes prevention through lifestyle change.

About the Clinton Global Initiative

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at

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