Evolution of Global Non Communicable Disease Epidemic



In this assessment you will research and write an essay on the following statement:

‘Evolution of global non-communicable disease epidemic’.

You may wish to consider the following … low-income Countries … the changing burden of NCDs … infectious disease vs NCDs … global challenge and local action … current and future threats.

One approach is to;

  • Break the statement down to ensure you address all parts of the statement
  • Focus more on the challenges and difficulties more than the solutions. Assessment 3 will focus on solutions to address NCDs.
  • Back up your arguments with referenced health and economic data.
  • Use examples from low-income countries to support your arguments.

Please refer to the Victoria University Academic Support and Development website and the section on essay writing to guide you.




A non-communicable disease (NCD) is a medical condition or disease that is by definition non-infectious and non-transmissible among people. Also known as chronic diseases, they are of long duration and generally slow progression. The 4 main types of non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Some are transmitted by bites from insects or animals. And others are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.

In general, economic development is usually the focus of federal, state, and local governments to improve our standard of living through the creation of jobs, the support of innovation and new ideas, the creation of higher wealth, and the creation of an overall better quality of life. Economic development is often defined by others based on what it is trying to accomplish. Many times these objectives include building or improving infrastructure such as roads, bridges, etc.; improving our education system through new schools; enhancing our public safety through fire and police service; or incentivizing new businesses to open a location in a community.




With the era of advanced technology and changing lifestyle, a very common phenomena observed throughout the world is the increase in the incidences of Non Communicable Diseases. Non Communicable Disease is a major factor hindering the growth of the countries as they are not the ones that can be controlled or limited for transmission, as they are mainly genetic or lifestyle abnormalities. The following essay assesses and analyses the current scenario of prevalence of Non communicable diseases in the lower income countries of the world which are the most vulnerable ones.

Apart from that, the following essay also sheds light on the economic burden due to the increase in the same in the countries. The occurrence of Non Communicable diseases are surpassing the infectious diseases and thus creating an imbalance in the medical economy of many countries. The following essay also gives a proper perspective of the same. Along with this, the global actions and local stringent steps required to downtrend the scenario is also discussed. The essay concludes with a proper discussion on the current and future threats of the situation on a worldwide span.

Concept of Non Communicable Diseases

The Non Communicable Diseases are the types of diseases which are not transmitted from person to person. However, the major risk and modifying factors of the disease are generally equal. The diseases are the ones which progresses slowly and are of longer duration. The prime types of disease which fall under this category are the Cardiovascular ailments including heart attack and stroke, Cancers, Chronic and acute cases of Respiratory ailments including Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Diseases(COPD), Bronchitis and Asthma and lifestyle diseases such as Diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (Cao et al. 2018, p.1290). The major occurrences of this kind of diseases are related to common risk factor including eating habits, pollution, sedentary lifestyle and tobacco use (Chockalingam et al. 2017, p.10).

Due to occurrence and longer span of non Communicable diseases the treatment cost of the same are more than normal disease. This affects the economy of various middle and lower income countries in a massive way. The top tier death rates that occur through the Non Communicable Diseases, about 80%, are prevalent in the lower and middle income countries (PSI, 2019). The prime reason for the same is the insufficient infrastructure to meet the basic health needs and the ill developed health systems. Apart from the abovementioned diseases, a number of Non communicable diseases are occurring due to the local factors, including the specific cases of Type 2 diabetes in gestational period and increased cases of cervical and ovarian cancers (Cowling et al. 2018, p.56)

Prevalence and Scenario of Non Communicable diseases in Low Income Countries

The occurrence and scenario of Non Communicable diseases are generally directly proportional to the risk factors interrelated with them. The foremost risk factors include unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and Pollution. All the major risk factors are somewhere preventable with the implementation of proper medical infrastructure. As per the views of Wang et al. (2016, p.460), however, the facility of proper medical access and proper lifestyle maintenance is not possible in the lower and middle income countries in many a cases. This leads to an increase in the prevalence of the incidence of Non Communicable disease in the population.

As per the reports of World Health Organisation, 48% of the deaths of NCD are found in the countries of lower and middle income groups (World Health Organisation, 2019). The major countries affected are regions and parts of Africa such as Malawi, Nigeria, small and lower infrastructure possessing countries such as the Lithuania, Botswana among others. As per the views and opinions of Tamosiunas et al. (2016, p. 720), the mortality rates of people of Lithuania due to Cardiovascular Diseases and  Malignant neoplasms were higher than those of the developed Western European Countries. Another example of the same phenomenon can be cited from the cases of population of Botswana and Bangladesh which is experiencing the reduction and downfall in the trends of fertility cases. According to the report, reductions in the fertility rates increased the median age of the people from seventeen to twenty four years old (Health Affairs.org, 2019).

The major prevalence of the cases can also be cited from the low income group regions of Africa. As per the reports and databases of World Health Organization, in the year 2015, approximately 40 million premature deaths between the ages of 30 to 70 has occurred in the middle and low income region countries  due to Non Communicable Diseases.  Apart from this, the report also states that countries such as Namibia, Mauritius and Seychelles have face almost 50% of the death of the population due to the prevalence of Non Communicable diseases (World Health Organisation, Africa, 2019). Another example of the case prevalence of the Non Communicable diseases can be cited from the world’s’ poorest nation located in Africa- Malawi. The country is faces hue catastrophes and poverty which contribute to the overall increase of Chronic Non Communicable Diseases in the region (Wang et al. 2016, p.461). The study also focussed on the facility based convenience of the patients suffering from specific Chronic Non Communicable. Apart from the cases of above mentioned countries, the case of lower income country New Zealand. As per the views of Bullen et al. (2016, p.58), of the total number of deaths occurring in the country, 89% of the deaths are caused each year due to the cases of Non Communicable diseases. As per the study, an approximate number of 7000 people of New Zealand suffered a premature death due to the Non Communicable Diseases. The major risk factors as identified were again ethnic and socioeconomic health inequality prevalent in the country.

Burden of NCDs

From the above mentioned data and their assessment, it can be derived that the major factors that contribute to the increased cases of the Non Communicable Disease are occuring in the lower middle income countries. This is leading to the increased burden of the same on the economy of the country. The economic burden is one of the most important factors which come in to consideration as the major consequence of the disease prevalence (Cortaredona and Ventelou, 2017, p.220). The entire Burden of the disease occurrence of Non Communicable types can be accessed through the morbidity and mortality rates of the population of the concerned nation or the region. The entire burden of disease can also measured easily though the metric ‘DALY’ or the ‘Disability Adjusted Life Years’ (Koopman et al. 2016, p.1190).

As per the data and statistics, the DAILY rates from the year 2017 attributed to Non Communicable diseases show that major of the African countries including the nations of Namibia, Niger, Angola, Nigeria, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia faces a DALY rate of 23,000-25,000 per 1,000,000 individuals from Non-Communicable diseases (Ourworldindata.org, 2019). Apart from that, the other countries such as New Zealand, India and Bangladesh face a DALY rate of 16,000 to 22,000 per 100,000 individuals. The first and foremost disease which are the prime shareholders of increased Disease Burden in the lower and middle income countries are the Cardiovascular Diseases (269.93 million) and Cancers of various types (154.12 million) (Ourworldindata.org, 2019). However, the major non-communicable diseases affected age group is from the age of 15-49 year olds. Another report by the World Health Organisation on the disease burden of Malawi shows that out of the total number of Deaths the cases of Non Communicable diseases are responsible for almost 32% of the deaths (World Health Organisation, 2019).

Apart from the abovementioned health data, the economic effects of the Non Communicable diseases are massive. As per the reports of World Health Organisation, increase in population in the lower middle income countries is contributing to the increased cases of Non Communicable disease. This is leading to the cumulative economic loss of almost 7 Trillion USD for an estimated period of 2011-2025. The yearly losses equalises to approximately 4% of the counties’ annual economic output (World Health Organisation, 2019)

Infectious Disease vs. NCDs

The Infectious diseases such as the Tuberculosis, SARS and Influenza are the ones which get communicated from person to person and are prevalent in the lower Middle Income countries in the same way as the Non Communicable Diseases (Mendenhall et al. 2017, p.960). The other major Infectious diseases also include HIV/AIDS and Parasitic disease. Both the types of diseases are the major contributors of the increased disease burden in cases of Lower Middle Income Countries.

On the contrary to the developed countries, the dual effect of the occurrence of both Infectious and Non communicable diseases can contribute to the economic setback of the country as well (Roura and Arulkumaran, 2015, p.10). Populous countries such as India and China show a remarkable data regarding the same. On one hand the  population affected from Diabetes (Non-communicable Disease) in India and China is about 5-15%; on the other hand, the estimated population of both the countries affected from the Tuberculosis with 2.0 and 1.3 million  cases every year (NCBI, 2019). Thus, it can be assessed that disease burden of both the types -Infectious and Non communicable are equally prevalent. However, the latter poses more threats.

Global Challenges and Action

As per the views of Piot et al. (2016, p.10), deaths due to Non Communicable Diseases in the Lower Middle income Countries are  expected to rise from 30.8 million in the year  2015 to 41.8 Million by 2030. In such a scenario the prevention and increased occurrence of the Non Communicable diseases needs a proper prevention plan for the eradication for the reduction of the cases prevalent across the world.

As a part of the worldwide increased burden of the Non Communicable diseases, the World Health Organization has set up a plan to strengthen multinational efforts to reduce the chaos of the incidences of Non Communicable Disease (Shrivastava et al. 2017, p.54). The 66th World Health Assembly passed the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non communicable Diseases (World Health Organisation, 2019). As per the plan, the global action prevention plan will focus on providing a proper guideline for the future course of action as well as a policy for the member countries. The Plan will also focus on the major nine voluntary targets for the monitoring by a deadline of 2025. The nine voluntary targets mainly focus on the relative reduction mechanism of the major risk factors including the insufficient physical activity and mean population intake of salt. Apart from this, the target will focus on the accessibility of drug control therapy for glycaemia issues and hindering the increased incidences of Obesity and Diabetes (World Health Organisation, 2019)

The major challenges of the control methods of the Non Communicable diseases are this that the conditions are sometimes incurable and thus are not properly managed. The non Communicable diseases including the Diabetes and Cancers generally recuperate and become more chronic (Melaku et al. 2016, p.124). As the conditions are not curable in some case, increased cases of the Non Communicable diseases can lead to the lowered health standard of overall population of the region. As the above mentioned areas including the middle and lower income regions are not well advanced in terms of medical facility as well as accessibility, thus, the overall standard of life also reduces a lot. In chronic cases of Non Communicable diseases, the diseases are also vulnerable to become life threatening.

For the fulfilment of the local actions regarding the Prevention and decrease of Non Communicable Diseases many a local campaigns have been organised by the World Health Organisation for the same. The prime campaigns are the Breathe Life, World No Tobacco Day, World Health Day, and WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity among others (World Health Organization, 2019). Apart from this, many a local actions are also taken by the governments and Nongovernmental organisations of the respective countries for the overall management of the situation. As per the views of Juma et al. (2018, p.967), the major steps of the five countries – Kenya , Cameroon, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria include prohibition of Smoking in the public region as well as the implementation of taxes in the local alcohol sales.  Regulation related to Trans fats in the food stuff and ban on the advertising of Alcohol are also important steps for the local activity in reducing the cases of Non Communicable Diseases.

Current and Future Threats

The prime Current threat regarding the occurrence of the increased incidence of Non Communicable diseases is the changing pattern of the diseases (European Society Of cardiology, 2019). The increased incidence of Non Communicable diseases including the increased severity of the disease such as Diabetes and other cardiovascular ailments are the major reasons for the increased threats of the condition. Evidencing from the last 40 years has pointed out major changes in the patterns on Non Communicable Diseases (Slama et al. 2017, p.330). The previously major risk factors for the occurrences of the Non Communicable diseases are Smoking and excessive Alcohol and Tobacco use. But with changing habits of the people, the major risk factors as identified are the sedentary lifestyle, increased obesity and unhealthy diet (European Society of Cardiology, 2019). This deviation of the risk factors from being selective to random with the population is the most significant current threat. This condition can lead to more complexity in cases of Non Communicable Diseases. The deviation will also shift the whole paradigm of prevention measures taken earlier.

One of the major threats looming over the entire world regarding the issue in the near future is the problem of Antimicrobial Resistance. Use of Antibiotics forms a major part of the treatment procedure of the major Non Communicable diseases such as the various forms of Cancer and COPD as well. The increased number of multi resistant bacteria can initiate different types of Non Communicable diseases which can add up to the disease burden of the low income countries. Apart from that, due to antimicrobial resistance, majority of the Non Communicable diseases can turn into non Curable ones. As per the views and opinions of Jasovský et al. (2016, p.160), up to 50% of the pathogenic microorganisms causing surgical site infections have become resistant to standard antibiotics of U.S. This it is the evidence of the severity of the scenario regarding future threats of Non Communicable diseases.


From the above essay it can be concluded that the scenario of the occurrence of Non Communicable diseases in cases of lower as well as middle income countries are very severe. Though efforts are been made at both the international as well as the national level for the changing in the risk factors of the diseases, more efforts are required to improve the picture. African countries such as Malawi, Botswana, Angola, and Kenya amongst other are suffering a lot.  Asian countries such as India, China and other small countries such as New Zealand are also the prime hotspots of the widening range of the scenario. Increased cases are also leading to disease burden increase amongst all the major countries both from the economic as well as the DALY figures. Inclusions of major international campaigns within the local efforts are required to reduce the severity of the conditions. The prime future threat of the condition is the Antimicrobial resistance which also needs the required attention.



Reference List

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