Testing diabetes in Brazil. WHO 2019 Global Healths Estimates report reveals that deaths from diabetes increased by 70% globally between 2000 and 2019.

NCDs make up 7 of the world’s top 10 causes of death

09th December 2020

Noncommunicable diseases now make up 7 of the world’s top 10 causes of death, according to WHO’s 2019 Global Health Estimates report, published today. This is an increase from 4 of the 10 leading causes in 2000. The new data publish covers the period from 2000 to 2019. 

The estimates reveal trends over the last two decades in mortality and morbidity caused by diseases and injuries. They clearly highlight the need for an intensified global focus on preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, as well as tackling injuries, in all regions of the world, as set out in the agenda for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  

“These new estimates are another reminder that we need to rapidly step up prevention, diagnosis and treatment of noncommunicable diseases,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). “They highlight the urgency of drastically improving primary health care equitably and holistically. Strong primary health care is clearly the foundation on which everything rests, from combatting noncommunicable diseases to managing a global pandemic.”  

Katie Dain, CEO of NCD Alliance said: "The WHO report  depicts a devastating toll on human life that could have  and should have been prevented," said Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance. 

"Noncommunicable diseases  are now killing more people than they were two decades ago with 41 million lives being  lost each year and many more millions left especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 syndemic.

"If governments  are serious about preventing both avoidable death on a  massive scale and better preparing the world for future pandemics, then they have to invest in the health of their citizens and promote healthy environments by tackling the common risk factors - alcohol, tobacco, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diets and air pollution – and ensuring everyone who needs it has access to essential and lifesaving diagnosis, treatment and care. 

"The collective failure to do so up until this point has got us to an unsustainable position where globally noncommunicable diseases now account for seven of the top 10 causes of death. The staggering 70 per cent  global increase in diabetes-related deaths over the past two decades is a tragic  illustration of that failure and clearly untenable going forward."

Click here to download WHO's 2019 Global Health Estimates.