Why NCDs?

To date the global health community’s activities have been focused primarily on the eradication of infectious diseases and improving maternal and child health. As a result NCDs have been greatly neglected.


  • NCDs kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.

  • Each year, 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; over 85% of these "premature" deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries

  • NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths – 32 million – occur.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes NCDs as a major challenge for sustainable development. As part of the Agenda, Heads of State and Government committed to develop ambitious national responses, by 2030, to reduce by one-third premature mortality from NCDs through prevention and treatment (SDG target 3.4). 


In Ethiopia the only available NCD diagnosis, treatment and care services are situated in urban hospitals far away from the vast majority of rural areas, where 82% of the population live.


NCDs are a growing epidemic among the rural population. The resulting morbidity and mortality burden is high, with 43.5% of all deaths due to NCDs and their complications (2018) and more than 80% of NCD-related deaths being caused by four main NCDs, namely cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases (2014).

THENA focuses on three of the four main NCDs (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases).

We have also been working with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health to put the required policies and strategies for a national response to NCDs in place.

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