Emerging Issues

Global Noncommunicable Diseases

Collaborating to reduce the global burden of NCDs through implementation-focused strategies

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of human death and illness worldwide. Each year 39.5 million people die from an NCD such as cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, or diabetes. More than 80 percent of premature deaths from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Inaction on this problem has significant ramifications for growth, capability, and productivity. Cumulative economic losses from NCDs in LMICs are estimated to have surpassed US$7 trillion between 2011 and 2025, an aggregate average of 4 percent of annual output. And the social cost is even more harmful—prolonged disability, diminished resources and financial insecurity in families, weakened businesses due to absenteeism, and increased demands on health systems.

Our experts apply wide-ranging expertise in health economics and financing, health system strengthening, communication science, and data science to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO) to reduce mortality from NCDs by one-third by 2030. We work with countries to scale up implementation of cost-effective NCD detection, prevention, and control. We also perform research that guides global and national decision-making to reduce the burden of NCDs.

RTI works with global partners and country leaders to design, implement, and evaluate policy, prevention, and treatment interventions and long-term solutions. Together, we are helping country-level partners reduce premature mortality from NCDs, supporting the achievement of universal health coverage, strengthening health systems, shaping better responses to reduce harmful use of alcohol and tobacco, and improving access to essential medicines and treatments. We have active partnerships and projects addressing NCDs in more than 19 countries across the globe, including:  

  • Cardiovascular care quality improvement interventions: We are working with cities in Brazil, India, and China to implement HeartRescue Global, a program that speeds up effective treatment and improves access to quality care.
  • Cost and cost-effectiveness assessment of national-level NCD strategic plan: We’ve partnered with organizations worldwide to share our extensive knowledge of health economics. 
  • Combatting the double burden of malnutrition: We are addressing both poor nutrition and obesity to reduce the spread of preventable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Communication for cancer awareness and prevention: Our experts are improving international health literacy on causation and prevention, to decrease deaths resulting from preventable cancers.

Contact us to learn how we can help your organization. 

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