30 Apr, 14 | by BMJ
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs)—such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and poor mental health—are major and growing public health threats for all regions of the world—rich and poor, urban and rural. Left unchecked, the impact of these conditions on the health and economies of nations, families, and individuals can become devastating.
Rightly, therefore, the public health advocacy community has raised the alarm of a coming crisis through a large number of publications and high profile meetings, such as the UN high level summit on NCDs in September 2011. In the words of Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, “We must act now with a sense of urgency.” John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, also noted about NCDs: “If we don’t intervene, that [NCDs] will be calamitous. The cumulative economic output loss over the next few years could be as much as $47 trillion.”