Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are a group of conditions that have a health impact for a long period of time, and often progress slowly. They are the main cause of death and disability in the world, and create a need for long-term treatment and care. They include conditions like cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, and mental illness.

Unfortunately, the disease burden of NCDs is growing worldwide. Globally, NCDs are expected to increase by 17% in the next 10 years, and by 27% in Africa. In addition to the health impact, NCDs also present a development challenge. The duration and cost of treatment can reduce productivity or force people into poverty. According to the WHO, more than 17  million people before the age of 70 die each year of NCDs. Of those, 86% live in low- and middle- income countries.

IDA has prioritised approving generic sources of essential NCD products, such as glucose test strips for diabetes, doxorubicin for cancer treatment, and atenolol for cardiovascular diseases.

If the major risk factors for noncommunicable diseases were eliminated, about three-quarters of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes would be prevented and 40% of cancers would be prevented.