Non-communicable diseases (NCDs): Has progress been made on the SDGs?

Heads of State and Government from around the world will take stock and make recommendations on this issue as part of the third UN High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) which will undertake a comprehensive review of the global and national progress achieved in putting measures in place that protect people from dying too young from NCDs.


Chronic diseases (or Non-Communicable diseases (NCDs))  of which chronic kidney disease is an important percentage, remain the major cause of deaths in Europe, resulting in the premature death of 500,000 people of working-age in the EU each year1. Mortality from these diseases account for €115 billion economic loss annually for EU economies2.

In parallel, evidence suggests that even a relatively minor increase in funding for disease prevention would result in considerable health gains and reduced future healthcare costs. Despite this, healthcare expenditure is still dedicated to treatment – (97%) and only a small portion (3%) goes to prevention. Unsurprisingly, chronic kidney disease is given relatively low priority within the public health response.


In the context of the UN High-level Meeting, it is expected that Member States will be encouraged to move from reflection to action, and to focus on prevention. This would echo the latest European Commission-OECD reports as part of the “State of Health in the EU” cycle which, albeit acknowledging that  important progress was made when it comes to addressing risk factors and treating NCDs, stressed that there is room for improvement in prevention and management.


zero draft outcome document for the UN meeting in September is now out and negotiations are taking place.

The event is likely to provide a good platform for the EU to demonstrate the European added-value of EU health policy and collaboration and it is hoped it will contribute to accelerate the very much needed paradigm shift from disease care to health care. Health promotion and disease prevention are indeed key to more effective and efficient health systems, reducing premature mortality from chronic diseases and ensuring a healthy future for European children.


More information on the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs here.



  1. OECD/EU (2016), Health at a Glance: Europe 2016 – State of Health in the EU Cycle, OECD Publishing, Paris. 
  2. See note 1