NCDs: A major challenge for sustainable development 

This section covers health & development challenges presented by NCDs, focusing on disease management & prevention opportunities.

Learn about the NCD epidemic implicated in more than 2/3 of global deaths and its impact on Sustainable Human Development. Find out how NCDs like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, poor mental health and respiratory diseases could and should be better managed. Finally, learn what can be done to prevent many NCDs, with major risk factors including tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diets, inactivity and other social determinants.


Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) - mainly cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes - are the most common cause of death and disability worldwide, accounting for 70% of all deaths and more than three out of four years lived with a disability.

The Financial Burden of NCDs

The financial burden of NCDs is immense, and the financial investment to alleviate this burden on patients, families and carers is comparatively small. WHO's 'Best Buys' offer options that provide not only financial return on investment, but also health and social benefits.  

NCDs and COVID-19

People who are over 60 years of age and people living with noncommunicable diseases (PLWNCDs) and conditions including hypertension and obesity, have a substantially higher risk of becoming severely ill or dying from the virus. COVID-19 is also causing significant "disruption of services for the prevention and treatment of NCDs" in almost all countries, likely to lead to a "long-term upsurge in deaths from NCDs" according to the World Health Organization (WHO)'s rapid assessment of service delivery for NCDs during the COVID-19 pandemic.