A dramatic increase in disability and deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is bringing new challenges to low- and middle-income countries, where millions of people lack access to prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment. Such lifestyle changes as lack of physical activity, changes in diet, smoking, and alcohol use are putting more people at risk. Today, two-thirds of deaths worldwide are caused by NCDs; a staggering 77 percent occur in low- and middle-income countries.
NCDs exact an enormous toll on low-resourced countries. For example, people tend to develop diabetes at younger ages, suffer serious complications sooner, and die earlier in life than those living in wealthy countries where diagnosis and treatment are more readily available. Half of people with diabetes worldwide don’t even know they have the disease.
PATH is at the forefront of responding to this rapidly growing problem. Building on our successful work in breast and cervical cancers, we are advancing prevention and care for diabetes and hypertension. Our strategy for all four diseases includes accelerating promising technologies and innovative approaches; advocating for increased global attention; integrating prevention and care into local health care systems; and increasing the availability of essential medicines, diagnostics, and technologies.
PATH has worked hard to open doors to health care for infectious diseases like malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis. Now we’re working to make sure those doorways also lead to better care for noncommunicable diseases.