More than half of countries are not on track to meet global targets for chronic diseases

21st September 2018

  • Cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes were responsible for 12.5 million deaths among people aged 30-70 years worldwide in 2016.

  • Warning as more than half of all countries are not on track to achieve a UN target to reduce by a third the rate of premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 2030.

  • One in 10 countries have seen death rates stagnate or worsen – for instance in the USA, NCD rates for women have stagnated, with almost one in eight 30 year old women dying from one of the four NCDS before their 70th birthday, compared with 1 in 20 women in the best performing country (South Korea).

  • Taking a wider view of chronic diseases in people aged 0-80 years offers a less promising picture, with only 17 countries (9%) for women and five countries (3%) for men on track to meet a third reduction on mortality rates by 2030.

More than half of all countries are predicted to fail to reach the UN target to reduce premature deaths from cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes by 2030, according to a new analysis published in The Lancet ahead of the third UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs commencing on 27 September 2018. 

However, the problem is potentially even more far-reaching and progress is even slower when all non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – including liver and kidney disease [1] – and all ages under 80 years are taken into account.

The authors say that countries must implement policies that reduce premature deaths sooner if they are to meet sustainable development goal (SDG) target 3.4 – to reduce the number of deaths caused by the four major NCDs in people aged between 30 and 70 years by a third by 2030.

“Despite clear commitments, international aid agencies and national governments are doing too little to reduce deaths from cancers, heart and lung diseases and diabetes. Progress is even slower for other diseases that are not a part of SDG target, meaning that the true health of people in most countries is even more dire,” says senior author Professor Majid Ezzati, Imperial College London, UK [2].

The report is the first from NCD Countdown 2030 – an independent annual monitor of progress on reducing the worldwide burden of NCDs – a collaboration led by The Lancet, World Health Organisation, Imperial College London and NCD Alliance. It compares the change in death rates for 186 countries from 2010 to 2016 to understand how likely it is for countries to achieve the SDG target for NCDs. In addition, the study includes a more comprehensive measure of all NCDs [1] in people aged between birth and 80 years. 

Read full press release here