The importance of people-centred care in treating NCDs

Confronting the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) requires an approach that is tailored to people, rather than diseases. Organisations that ensure such efforts are community-based and sustainable, and help people better engage with the health system have the best chances of success.

The prevention, detection and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, heart and lung diseases, and cancer, are among the biggest global health challenges today. You could be forgiven for thinking these are diseases of high-income countries (HICs) and elderly patients, as indeed this used to be the case. However, in the 21st century, 41 million deaths a year are attributable to NCDs, making them the leading cause of death worldwide. They are widely prevalent in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) and can cause premature death in working age adults. In fact, the burden of these diseases is disproportionately high in LMICs, with over three-quarters of all NCD deaths occurring in these countries.

Winning the fight against NCDs requires reorienting how healthcare is delivered, namely, making it people-centred. The World Health Organisation endorses this approach, stating: “As health is influenced by a complex interplay of physical, social, economic, cultural and environmental factors, it must be seen in a broader context, with all stakeholders involved. We need to re-establish the core value of health care, which is health and well-being of all people as a central goal. This entails a more holistic and people-centred approach to health care.”

Read the full article in Foresight Global Health.