United Nations Development Program and World Health Organization Brief: Economic Case For NCDs Control

Within the UN Interagnecy Task Force on NCDs (UNIATF), a team of UNDP and WHO experts has produced a new advocacy brief. The brief is entitled: “NCDs – WHAT MINISTRIES OF LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT NEED TO KNOW

Five core messages

  1. NCDs decrease the labour force, reduce productivity and reduce economic growth
  2. Preventing NCDs makes economic sense
  3. Tackling NCDs will not hurt businesses or lead to overall job loss – quite the opposite
  4. Ministries of labour and employment must recognize that the right to health is a fundamental responsibility of government and work with employers and other partners to tackle NCDs
  5. Ministries of labour and employment have speci c responsibilities regarding tobacco production

What are NCDs and why must government work together?

There are four main NCDs: cardiovascular diseases (which include heart disease and strokes), cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.

38 million people die from NCDs each year, including 16 million people who die prematurely (before age 70). Over 80% of premature deaths from NCDs occur in low- and middle- income countries. Most premature NCD deaths are from four main behavioural risk factors – tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.

Population exposure to these behavioural risk factors for NCDs is determined largely by policies in trade, labour, tax, urban planning, education and other ‘non-health’ sectors. This means that early death and disability from NCDs are largely avoidable through better policy coherence across sectors.

Given the social, economic and environmental burdens of NCDs, it is possible to identify strategies and approaches that deliver shared gains for all sectors involved.

Context of Agenda 2030

Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and wellbeing includes targets on the prevention and control of NCDs. Achievement of these targets would advance full, productive and safe employment as a driver of inclusive economic growth. Good labour outcomes would help address NCDs in turn.


Development of this brief was coordinated by a joint WHO and UNDP team. This brief is for advocacy purposes and provides a set of options for action. It does not represent an official position of WHO or UNDP and has not been shared with their respective governing bodies. References to Member States and partners do not constitute or imply any endorsement whatsoever of this brief.

Source Website: UNIATF Brief