Sustainable development needs sustainable financing — tackling NCDs is no exception
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
I recently heard the story of Evelyne Musera, a woman being treated for her Type 2 diabetes in Nairobi. Like many Kenyans, Evelyne pays out of her own pocket for the visit, plus the medicines she needs. On top of that, her taxi fares eat into her hard-earned money, and when she skips work to visit the hospital, she is not getting paid. Many others are not so lucky, and are missing out on care altogether due to the relatively high health care costs involved.
Evelyne’s example offers a glimpse of what millions of people — and the governments charged with their care — are confronted by worldwide when it comes to generating the finances needed to prevent and control diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases, namely cardiovascular and lung diseases, and cancers.
Each year, 16 million people die prematurely before the age of 70 from NCDs. Strikingly, 4 out of 5 of these deaths occur in developing countries like Kenya, making such diseases one of the major development challenges of the 21st century. If countries don’t change tack on NCDs, an estimated $7 trillion could be lost in developing countries over the next 15 years. This contrasts starkly with the cost of action: $11 billion a year to implement a set of NCD interventions in all developing countries.