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Launch of the landmark report from The Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission

16th September 2020

The landmark report of The Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission was launched during a global virtual event held yesterday. The report finds that "for the poorest of our world, non-communicable diseases and injuries (NCDIs) account for more than a third of their burden of disease; this burden includes almost 800,000 deaths annually among those aged younger than 40 years, more than HIV, tuberculosis, and maternal deaths combined."

Compiled by global experts "The Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission: bridging a gap in universal health coverage for the poorest billion" urges greater action to combat of the world's biggest and neglected health disparities: NCDIs - many of which affect the poorest, including children and adults. 

Among the poorest, fully three-quarters (74%) of years of life lost as a result of NCDIs before the age of 40 are avoidable. The conditions include rheumatic heart disease, type 1 diabetes, sickle cell disease, and pediatric and cervical cancers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further heightened the vulnerability of people living with NCDIs in poorer settings.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is now pushing projections of extreme poverty even higher. The World Bank estimates that the pandemic will drive between 71 million and 100 million people into extreme poverty, 81% of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia—the regions that are already home to more than 90% of the world’s poorest billion people.

The report also provides a synoposis to the worsening disparity of NCDIs and the poorest billion amid COVID-19. Striking evidence can be found in part II and III where experts explore opportunities to fill a major gap in equileath health coverage and what more can be done, including greater development assistance to tackle NCDIs. 

"Addressing NCDI Poverty offers a chance for the poorest countries to build durable, high-quality health systems. It also presents an important occasion to act on the underlying social determinants of disease such as housing, household energy, food insecurity, education, and transportation."

Addressing NCDIs among the poorest will require more than promotion of healthy living. The Commission report documents a large number of life-saving and life-changing interventions that can be delivered cost effectively. 

The Commission was convened by The Lancet and co-chaired by Harvard Medical School’s Gene Bukhman and Ana Mocumbi from the Mozambique National Health Institute. The Commission included 23 global health experts, and was informed by more than 250 academics and policy makers who convened associated National Commission leaders across 16 countries with support from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The full report can be assessed here