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The spread of western disease: 'The poor are dying more and more like the rich'

For the first time, more people in developing countries die from strokes and heart attacks than infectious diseases, but there are cost effective ways to save lives.

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Scroll down for short summary. Or download the one-page PDF containing the smartest targets to address non-communicable disease. 

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Health: Non-Communicable Diseases

Summary of the targets from the paper

Non- Communicable Diseases
Type Target or Sub-target Annual costs ($m) Annual Benefits ($m) Benefit for every dollar spent Deaths avoided in 2030 (m)
Target By 2030, reduce premature death from non-communicable diseases by 29% in LMICs $8,563 $153,668 $18 5.02
Sub-Target Provide aspirin to 75% of those suffering from acute myocardial infarction $27 $1,721 $63 0.06
Sub-Target Provide low-cost hypertension medication to 50% of medium-and-high risk patients $500 $23,479 $47 0.77
Sub-Target Reduce salt intake by 30% $638 $24,943 $39 0.82
Sub-Target Increase the price of tobacco by 125% $3,548 $76,537 $22 2.50
Sub-Target Provide preventive drug therapy to 70% of those at high risk of heart disease $3,850 $26,990 $7 0.88

Lives saved by intervention (millions in 2030)


Perspective Paper  image

Perspective Paper

Rachel Nugent, Clinical Associate Professor of Global Health at University of Washington, examines the costs and benefits of reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 2030. Debunking the idea that NCDs are only a ‘first world problem’, Nugent shows that NCDs, if unaddressed will lead to about 20 million early deaths by 2030 – 90% of which will occur in low and middle-income countries. She argues for five interventions such as raising tobacco tax and reducing salt intake, which target a host of prevalent NCDs. Together these interventions could reduce premature mortality from NCDs by 29% by 2030, saving some 5 million lives.

NCDs are the dominant health issue in almost all countries and regions. Even in poor countries, they are not a future problem. They are very present and involve significant costs to society, to governments, and to individuals and households... One might reasonably ask, then, why are NCDs not among the stated priorities of more developing country health strategies and, by extension, the major global health funders?"

- Rachel Nugent

Read The Perspective Paper

The Post-2015 Consensus project brings together 60 teams of economists with NGOs, international agencies and businesses to identify the targets with the greatest benefit-to-cost ratio for the UN's post-2015 development goals.