Norwegian Minister of International Development Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein at the launch of the global strategy to tackle NCDs in low-income countries, Oslo, 22 November 2019.

Norway announces global strategy to tackle NCDs in low-income countries

22nd November 2019

Announcement of a world first international health and development strategy by Norwegian government could be a game changer for responding to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the developing world.

Civil society groups welcome the new Norwegian strategy as a catalytic moment to turn longstanding political commitments into action to tackle the world’s biggest killer: NCDs.

Friday, 22nd November, (Oslo, Norway) - The NCD Alliance today welcomed the Norwegian government´s commitment to a first-ever strategy designed specifically to combat NCDs in low-income countries, lauding it as a decisive moment in the fight against diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, lung disease and mental health conditions that are responsible for over 70 per cent of deaths worldwide. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also announce dedicated funding of 200 million Norwegian Krone (US$21.9 million) to support the strategy.

“This is a vital show of leadership from Norway that could be a game changer for the way the world responds to NCDs that are responsible for so much suffering and preventable death,” said Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance, who was attending the launch in Oslo. "Heads of State and Government have reiterated over almost a decade at UN High Level Meetings the urgency of the global NCD epidemic, but this is the first time that a national government really backs up their commitments with a specific policy and much-needed overseas development resources. It is a really important step: the first OECD country to signal that NCDs are a cornerstone of their sustainable development policy. We call on other governments to follow Norway’s lead, to catch up with and align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed in 2015”.

The Norwegian Minister of International Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein, and the Minister of Health, Bent Høie, launched the new strategy, “Better Health, Better Lives - Combating Non-Communicable diseases in the Context of Norwegian Development Policy 2020-2024” today in Oslo. The aim of the strategy is to contribute to reducing premature deaths from NCDs in low-income countries by a third by 2030 (SDG 3.4), and to improve people's health throughout the life-course.

The proportion of NCD-related deaths before the age of 70 is highest in low- and middle-income countries, which are also home to the fastest rates of increase in overall NCD mortality.

“We are proud of Norway´s commitment to this bold strategy – one that will intensify efforts to break down silos and make real efforts to take a comprehensive approach to global health that includes NCDs – the world's number one killer,” said Anne Lise Ryel, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cancer Society.

NCDs are a poverty and development issue. Chronic noncommunicable diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading killers worldwide, claiming the lives of 41 million people each year, accounting for over 70 per cent of all deaths worldwide. The yearly number of deaths includes 15 million people who die between the ages of 30 and 70 years. The majority of these premature deaths could be prevented or delayed. Among these premature deaths some 80 per cent occurred in developing countries. These deaths are but the tip of the iceberg of long years of disability, illness, care and treatment experienced by hundreds of millions of people living with NCDs every day of their lives.

Watch recordings of the live event here

Further Information:

Michael Kessler, Michael Kessler Media
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Twitter: @mickessler

Watch Katie Dain, CEO of NCD Alliance, congratulate Norway:

About NCD Alliance

The NCD Alliance (NCDA) is a unique civil society network, dedicated to improving NCD prevention and control worldwide. Today, our network includes NCDA members, national and regional NCD alliances, over 1,000 member associations of our founding federations, scientific and professional associations and academic and research institutions. Together with strategic partners, including the World Health Organization, United Nations and governments, NCDA is uniquely positioned to transform the global fight against NCDs through its core functions of global advocacy, accountability, capacity development and knowledge exchange.

About Norwegian Cancer Society

The Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS) is one of the largest organisations in Norway representing the voices of those affected by cancer. We have 116 000 members, 27 000 volunteers and 190 employees, who are all dedicated to promoting cancer cause. NCS works continuously to improve society’s attitude to the prevention and treatment of cancer. We fight cancer locally, nationally and globally through research and preventive measures, information, support, advice and lobbying.