Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, lung and heart diseases are a growing problem globally – a fact that has received considerable attention at the United Nations’ High-level Meeting on these diseases in September 2011. While NCDs in high- and middle-income countries are often linked to lifestyle factors like obesity, tobacco use and alcohol consumption, less often discussed are the NCDs most prevalent in low-income countries where infectious, hereditary and environmental risk factors play a more significant role (PIH, 2011)
Members discuss common NCDs in their communities, as well as a number of challenges to identifying and treating these diseases in resource-limited settings.
Securing funding for expanded non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and treatment in low- and middle-income countries is a major concern, particularly as the global burden of chronic conditions increases. Low- and middle-income countries confront nearly 80% of the global NCD disease burden, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease (Alwan 2011). Many also rely on external funds to meet a share of their health needs, with donors providing nearly $1 in $6 spent on health care in the developing world. Especially in low-income countries, these largely preventable diseases will become increasingly expensive to manage the longer that the donor community waits to address them (Alwan 2011).
As the global health community prepared for a United Nations Summit on NCDs in September 2011, GHDonline hosted a discussion around the costs, funding sources, and priority shifting related to financing NCD prevention and treatment programs in resource-poor settings. Researchers, doctors, business consultants, and other professionals discussed the challenges to expand funding for NCDs and examined ways that the public and private sectors can forge integrated solutions to address the pressing NCD challenges.