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Save lives through equitable access to NCD treatment and UHC


Access to treatment and care is a fundamental human right for everyone to achieve the highest possible standard of physical and mental health and well-being.

Availability and access to lifesaving treatment, care and support for people living with NCDs is still out
of reach for millions of people around the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries and for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. This is despite global targets for 2025 to ensure 80% availability of essential medicines and technologies for NCDs in public and private facilities, and a specific target on multidrug therapy for CVD and diabetes. A particular issue is the insufficient access to controlled opioid analgesics for pain relief and palliative care. Challenges of access relate to weak health systems in many LMICs, including the lack of adequate preparation and training of the health workforce, insufficient financial resources, poor procurement policies and weak supply chains, inefficient information systems, and lack of patient education and low health literacy.

Reducing the burden of NCDs will be essential to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the SDGs, particularly goals focused on ending poverty in all forms everywhere and reducing inequalities within and among countries. Integration of NCD prevention and treatment in UHC schemes and a strong focus on equity is fundamental to strengthen health systems to deliver for NCDs throughout the life-course and protect against financial hardship.


  • Strengthen national health systems, with an emphasis on primary care, to deliver prevention, treatment and care for NCDs, acknowledging the importance of promoting patient empowerment, rehabilitation, and palliative care for persons of all ages with or at risk of developing NCDs.
  • Recognise the fundamental importance of universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, to the prevention and control of NCDs across the continuum of care and across a diverse group of diseases, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable populations.
  • Ensure coherence and integration between national NCD and mental and neurological health policies and programmes.
  • Work with partners to direct resources to and strengthen the advocacy, policy and programmatic links between NCDs and injuries and communicable diseases, sexual, reproductive, maternal, and child health services, leveraging existing services as an entry point for NCD interventions.
  • Ensure increased access to affordable, safe, effective, and quality-assured medicines, vaccines, and technologies for NCDs.