The Critical Moment for Caring About NCDs

In today’s world, a pivotal crossroads beckons us to turn our attention to an ever-escalating global health crisis—Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs)[1]. These silent but devastating ailments are seizing lives and health systems worldwide, demanding our urgent consideration for several compelling reasons.

The present moment is a critical juncture for caring about Non-Communicable Diseases for several reasons:

  1. Escalating Burden: NCDs have been steadily increasing as a global health burden, leading to more deaths and disabilities worldwide. This upward trend underscores the urgency of addressing NCDs now to prevent further escalation.
  2. Economic Impact: NCDs have a substantial economic impact, not only in terms of healthcare costs but also due to productivity losses. Preventing and managing NCDs can contribute to economic stability and growth.
  3. Health Disparities: NCDs disproportionately affect vulnerable populations, including those with lower socioeconomic status. Addressing NCDs is essential for reducing health disparities and achieving health equity.
  4. Preventability: Many NCDs are preventable through lifestyle modifications, early detection, and management. Acting now can lead to substantial reductions in NCD incidence and associated healthcare costs.
  5. Global Awareness and Advocacy: In this critical juncture, we are witnessing a groundswell of global awareness and advocacy surrounding NCDs, leading to increased research efforts and funding for NCD prevention and care. The world has awakened to the gravity of this silent epidemic, and it is incumbent upon us to seize this moment for transformative action.

In summary, the critical moment for caring about NCDs arises from the increasing burden, the recognition of their interplay with other health issues like infectious diseases, strain on healthcare systems, and the potential for meaningful change through prevention, early intervention, and equitable care. Addressing NCDs now is essential for promoting better health outcomes, reducing health disparities, and achieving broader global health goals.

Challenges in Providing Care for NCDs

Despite the urgency, several challenges[2] persist in the provision of care for Non-Communicable Diseases:

  1. Lack of Awareness: Limited public awareness about NCDs and their risk factors can lead to delayed diagnoses and missed opportunities for prevention.
  2. Access to Healthcare: Disparities in access to healthcare services, particularly in low-income and rural areas, can hinder early diagnosis and treatment.
  3. High Treatment Costs: The cost of medications, medical procedures, and ongoing care can be prohibitively expensive for many individuals, especially in countries without universal healthcare coverage.
  4. Health System Capacity: Healthcare systems may lack the capacity to manage the increasing burden of NCDs, leading to longer wait times, overcrowded clinics, and overwhelmed healthcare professionals.
  5. Shortage of Healthcare Workers: A shortage of healthcare workers, particularly specialists in NCD care, can result in limited access to specialized treatment and longer waiting lists.
  6. Non-Adherence to Treatment: Patients may struggle to adhere to prescribed treatments such as medications, diet, and exercise due to various factors, including cost, side effects, or lack of understanding.
  7. Comorbidity Challenges: Managing multiple NCDs or NCDs alongside infectious diseases can be complex and requires coordinated care, which may be lacking.

Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach that includes improving healthcare access, increasing awareness, promoting prevention, strengthening health systems, and advocating for policy changes to prioritize NCD care. It also necessitates a global commitment to recognizing NCDs as a critical public health concern.

A Call to Unite: Seizing the Moment to Combat NCDs

As we navigate the intricate landscape of healthcare, the significance of addressing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at this critical juncture cannot be overstated. The mounting burden of NCDs is a harbinger of escalating deaths and disabilities, ringing a clarion call for concerted efforts in prevention, early intervention, and equitable care.

Yet, the road to combat NCDs is not without its share of challenges. From the lack of public awareness to disparities in healthcare access, high treatment costs, strained health systems, and shortages of healthcare workers, hurdles loom large. Patients grappling with NCDs often face the dual challenge of managing multiple health conditions, further complicating their journey towards health and well-being.

To surmount these obstacles and forge a path toward a healthier future, we must embrace a multifaceted approach. This approach encompasses bolstering healthcare access, increasing public awareness, promoting prevention, strengthening health systems, and advocating for policy changes that prioritize NCD care.

The critical moment for caring about NCDs is upon us, and it demands a global commitment. NCDs are not merely health issues; they are societal issues. They impact economies, communities, and the lives of individuals and their families in profound ways. The time has come for a united front in recognizing NCDs as a critical public health concern and taking action that transcends boundaries and borders.

In this pivotal juncture, let us stand together, seize the moment, and catalyze change. It is through our collective efforts that we can confront NCDs, reduce health disparities, and chart a course towards a healthier, more equitable world for all.


[1] About Global NCDs: Division of Global Health Protection

[2] Outcomes and Challenges in Non-Communicable Disease Care Provision in Health Facilities Supported by Primary Health Care System Strengthening Project in Sri Lanka 


Article authored by Dr. Terry Kuria, Pharmacist & Member Ryculture YouTH Voices Network