Noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors

Management of noncommunicable diseases

The “NVI Year in Review 2017” offers select highlights of the work of WHO's Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention (NVI). Among these include managing cardiovascular diseases in Nepal and preventing and treating NCDs in Timor-Leste. With support from experts worldwide, NVI issued new guidance on early cancer diagnosis. High-profile advocacy events included the General Meeting of the Global Alliance against Respiratory Diseases. NVI is pleased to be part of two new global initiatives: the “Partnership for Healthy Cities”, which seeks to reduce NCDs and road traffic injuries through 10 concrete actions and “Resolve to Save Lives” which aims to avoid more than 100 million deaths in part by preventing heart attacks and strokes. NVI warmly thanks its partners for their ongoing collaboration and for sharing its vision of enabling people to live healthier, more productive lives.

WHO launches Tackling NCDs - "Best buys"

This document provides policymakers with a list of ‘best buys’ and other recommended interventions to address noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) based on an update of Appendix 3 of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013–2020. A list of options is presented for each of the four key risk factors for NCDs (tobacco, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity) and for four disease areas (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory disease).

On World Heart Day WHO calls for accelerated action to prevent the world’s leading global killer

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) take the lives of 17.7 million people every year, 31% of all global deaths. Triggering these diseases are tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol. These in turn show up in people as raised blood pressure, elevated blood glucose and overweight and obesity. Through the Global Hearts Initiative, WHO is supporting governments to scale-up efforts on CVD prevention and control through three technical packages: MPOWER for tobacco control, SHAKE for salt reduction and HEARTS for strengthening CVD management in primary health care. Launched in September 2016, the initiative has been rolled out in several countries, where health workers are being trained to better deliver tested and affordable measures to protect people from CVDs and help them recover following a heart attack or stroke. A new global initiative - Resolve to Save Lives - will give renewed impetus to these efforts.

70th World Health Assembly adopts resolution endorsing update of Appendix 3

On 31 May a resolution was adopted endorsing an updated list of evidence-based and cost-effective interventions for the prevention and control of NCDs. The list, featured as Appendix 3 of the WHO Global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013-2020, was revised based on new evidence using WHO-CHOICE. From a total of 88 proposed interventions, the updated Appendix 3 contains 16 interventions which are considered the most cost-effective and feasible for implementation. Among them are enacting and enforcing comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising; increasing excise taxes on alcoholic beverages; reducing salt intake through the reformulation of food products; offering drug therapy and counselling to those who have had a heart attack or stroke; vaccinating girls aged 9-13 years against human papillomavirus; and screening women aged 30-49 years for cervical cancer.

HEARTS technical package for cardiovascular disease management in primary health care

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause. The HEARTS technical package represents a strategic and practical approach to reducing the number of premature deaths from CVDs by improving clinical preventive services in primary health care using highly effective, scalable, sustainable and proven interventions. It involves a public health approach to CVD management that will improve access, particularly in settings with significant resource limitations, by systematically addressing barriers to care.

Guide to cancer early diagnosis

WHO has developed a Guide to cancer early diagnosis, to help policy-makers and programme managers address barriers to and delays in cancer care. By doing so, access to timely cancer diagnosis and treatment can be improved for all.

Planning and implementing palliative care services: a guide for programme managers

This is a practical manual on how to plan and implement palliative care services, integrated into existing health care services, at national or sub-national level. It has been designed primarily for health programme managers at national, provincial, or district level, whether they are responsible for noncommunicable diseases, infectious disease programmes, health services, or other technical areas where palliative care is important. It aims to describe a range of options and starting points for building and strengthening palliative care services. A step-wise approach is outlined in each section as much as possible, with an emphasis on approaches feasible for low and middle income settings.

What is management of noncommunicable diseases?

NCDs – including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – kill 40 million people every year. Prevention of NCDs is important. However, investing in better management is the other key component of the NCD response. Management of NCDs includes the detection, screening and treatment of NCDs as well as palliative care. Such interventions are essential for achieving the global target of a 25% relative reduction in the risk of premature mortality from NCDs.

Four main NCDs

Cardiovascular diseases


Chronic respiratory diseases


Strengthening health systems

Other NCDs

Global Ambassador for NCDs

Feature stories on NCDs

Contact us

Laura Sminkey
Communications Officer
Tel.: +41 22 791 45 47
Mob.: +41 79 249 35 20