The impact of NCDs and mental health conditions, their shared risk factors and their determinants on individuals, communities and economies is one of the most important global health challenges of this century. Globally, 7 of the 10 leading causes of death in 2019 were NCDs, including diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and oral diseases. A great majority of premature deaths from NCDs occur in low-and middle-income countries. Often, these premature deaths are linked to insufficiently monitored and mitigated NCD risk factors such as tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption or air pollution. The annual global burden of mental health conditions is estimated to cost US$ 1 trillion of lost economic output.
Progress towards achieving SDG 3.4 – reducing premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases by one third by 2030 – is stalling, and many countries are missing critical capacity to reverse trends in NCD risk factors as well as the resources for health systems to keep up with the needs to address NCDs.
Yet, tackling the global burden of NCDs and mental health conditions remains achievable. Evidence shows that inclusive health systems with contextualized interventions for both risk factors and diseases are effective against NCDs. Through collaborative and multisectoral policy approaches, governments, health actors and partners can address the structural social determinants of NCDs and improve health equity. Coherent multisectoral (whole-of-government) and multistakeholder (whole-of-society) engagement are hence key to accelerate progress.