An international framework for tackling NCDs has been established, with nine voluntary targets on NCDs, agreed by WHO member states in 2012, including a 25% reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025 from 2010 levels. The Sustainable Development Goals – unlike their precursor, the Millennium Development Goals – also include a target on NCDs.
SDG Target 3.4:
By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well being
Low- and middle-income countries lag far behind in achieving this target, not least because of the competing priorities of infectious diseases and maternal and child health, toward which health systems have been orientated to respond. Country-level implementation requires political will, innovative funding and improved coordination across the health system, and more widely across national government.
In-country progress has been insufficient and highly uneven, and it is the vulnerable and marginalised who are left behind. There is a severe mismatch between the scale of the NCD challenge and the allocation of official development assistance: only 2% of development assistance for health is spent on NCDs.
The UK Working Group on NCDs calls for NCDs to be a priority for UK international development.
In May 2018, the Working Group held a Parliamentary briefing event in Portcullis House with participation from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health, the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and the Department for International Development. It was an excellent opportunity to engage with civil servants across not only in the health/NCDs agenda, but also across development and research – in both of which the UK is a world leader. A briefing paper produced for the event is available below. This event aimed to inform and engage policymakers ahead of the UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, held in September 2018 during the UN General Assembly.