It is justified to say that non-communicable diseases are a silent pandemic owing to the number of annual deaths attributable to these chronic diseases. According to the World Health Organization;
- Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.
- Each year, 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; over 85% of these “premature” deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
- Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.9 million people annually, followed by cancers (9.0 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).
Even with these shocking stats, global health governance has historically focused on infectious diseases. Even global predictions are mostly on communicable disease. In 2015 Ted Talk Bill Gates said that if anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war.” We weigh in on infectious disease so much that we forget the urgent and pressing problems like NCDs. I suppose that if today we effectively address the underlying condition, even the future pandemic will not have very devastating effect we have witnessed.
According to Isabel Barbosa of the ORNEILL Institute for National and Global Health Law, pandemics such as Covid-19 have the power to claim a lot of lives, radically change lifestyles, and literally bring economies to a halt – all of this in a matter of weeks. It is terrifying. However, while the world grapples with the effects of Covid-19, another pandemic is also taking place. Like infectious diseases, NCDs lead to a striking number of deaths: about 71% of all deaths globally. Moreover, NCDs too take a toll on our economies, both through rising health care costs and lost productivity. But they do so silently.
In line with the Global Week for Action on NCDs, I was interviewed by Kenyatta University TV and Radio Services and during the discussion, I weighed in on the conversation around Non-Communicable Diseases. In this exclusive interview that last around 2o minutes, I was keen to describe NCDs, give a bit of background on the Global Week for Action on NCDs and share some of the glaring and sobering statistics on NCDs.
I also talked about some of the projects/programs/activities that our organization (Stowelink Inc.) has conducted in the effort to address NCDs. Challenges experienced in the fight against NCDs also prominently featured in the interview with KUTV.
In finishing the interviewed, I invited young people to join in the NCDs conversation as this will help create the much needed momentum for action on NCDs.
To watch the interview, click this link>>> Exclusive Interview on NCDs as a Silent Pandemic