Investing in health and the economy: curbing the crisis of non-communicable diseases

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cause 41 million preventable deaths each year, approximately six times the number of people who have died from COVID-19 so far. The estimated economic loss resulting from the five most common NCDs is US$2 trillion annually, more than the nominal GDP of most countries in the G20. With NCDs accounting for the leading causes of death in most G20 countries, the group has an imperative to do more to protect its populations from this problem. It also has the power to make a difference.The interventions needed are clear—including cross-sectoral public policies to prevent NCDs, earlier diagnosis and treatment to improve patient outcomes, and healthcare system sustainability—but action has been slow. This policy brief considers the magnitude of the NCD problem, the threat it poses to the G20, and how G20 leadership can protect population health and economic development by acting on this issue.