Ageing and non-communicable diseases: opportunities for the EU to respond

Ageing and non-communicable diseases: opportunities for the EU to respond

The rise in NCDs combined with rapid population ageing presents important challenges for health and care systems globally. Deaths from NCDs are disproportionately concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. As a key player in global health and development, the EU has an important role to play in strengthening the response to NCDs in these countries.

This briefing by HelpAge’s EU network of organisations working with older people discusses NCDs and ageing in the context of sustainable development. It looks at how well the EU’s development policies are currently addressing the interaction between these issues. It sets out concrete opportunities for the EU to develop
age-inclusive development and global health policies that will enable the achievement of the SDGs, particularly Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, and its target on NCDs.

Key messages:

  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally. Almost 75 per cent of these deaths occur in low - and middle income countries. Older people are disproportionately affected
  • global and European Union (EU) responses to NCDs in low- and middle income countries have been inadequate to date, failing to meet the needs of their ageing populations
  • investment in NCD prevention, treatment, management and care for people of all ages is critical to realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the commitment to leaving no one behind
  • to enable the EU to play the central role it has identified for itself in advancing progress on global health challenges, including NCDs3, it must pay greater attention to population ageing and NCDs and ensure a fully age-inclusive approach in its global health work, including its implementation of the SDGs


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