Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a group of diseases which are gradually processing and largely preventable with a long duration. NCD is such a medical condition or disease that is not caused by infectious agents. NCDs are non-infectious or non-transmissible which can refer to chronic diseases and last for long periods of time and progress slowly. NCDs are the leading cause of death globally. Four main NCDs are:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Cancers
  • Chronic respirator (lung) diseases and
  • Diabetes

These four main NCDs are account for the majority of the burden. However, chronic renal disease, injury especially road traffic injury and drowning are also becoming public health issues. Currently, NCDs are leading the cause of preventable mortality and disability in the world and liable for two out of every three deaths.

Most of the non-communicable diseases are manmade and caused by life style changes. Increased longevity and intensive changes in people’s lifestyles are altering the way individuals live, work, eat, drink and move. Most non-communicable diseases are the result of four particular behaviors:

  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Tobacco Use
  • Stress & strain

These behaviors lead to four key metabolic/physiological changes like raised blood pressure, overweight/obesity, raised blood glucose and raised cholesterol. Harmful use of alcohol, population ageing, unplanned urbanization, socioeconomic factors, trade and marketing- such common and modifiable risk factors are increasing weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol which are accountable for NCDs.

Non communicable diseases (NCDs) have become the major disease burden globally as well as in low middle income countries of the world. Like many low and middle income countries around the world, Bangladesh is in the midst of an epidemiologic transition where the burden of disease is shifting from a disease profile dominated by infectious diseases, under-nutrition and conditions of childbirth to one increasingly characterized by non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs). Worldwide, NCDs account for 60% (35 million) of global deaths. The largest burden - 80% (28 million) - occurs in low middle income countries, making NCDs a major cause of poverty and an urgent development issue. They will be the leading global cause of disability by 2030. World Health Organization’s (WHO) South-East Asia Region reported that NCDs - which include heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are estimated to account for half of annual mortality (54%) and burden of disease (47%). In Bangladesh, the limited available evidence suggests that NCDs are responsible for half of annual mortality (51%) and almost half of the burden of disease (41%).

This rapid changes of health and disease profile has serious implications for poverty reduction and economic development. NCDs have a severe impact on everywhere such as individuals, communities and countries. The vastness and rapid spread of NCDs indicates that we all are headed for a sick future unless we take proper action now. Low-income countries still grappling with heavy burdens of infectious disease risk being overwhelmed by this wave of largely preventable NCDs

Globally an NCD Alliance was formed initially by four international NGO Federations, such as:

  • International Diabetes Federation
  • World Heart Federation
  • The Union for International Cancer Control and
  • The Union

These four international NGO Federations representing the four main NCDs– cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease. Together with other major international NGO partners, the NCD Alliance unites a network of over 2,000 civil society organizations in more than 170 countries. The mission of the NCD Alliance is to combat the NCD epidemic by putting health at the center of all policies.