Many of the pre-mature deaths that take place in lower and middle income countries are as a result of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), according to Novartis Access’s Global Head, Dr Harald Nusser.

WHO defines NCDs as cardiovascular diseases that can lead to heart attacks and stroke; “cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes”.

“Around 75 per cent of all pre-mature deaths are [due to] non-communicable diseases and most people in the active working age are the victims,” he told CNBC Africa during thr WEF Africa summit underway in Rwanda.

Launched in 2015, Novartis Access programme focuses on affordability and availability of 15 on- and off-patent medicines addressing key NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory illnesses and breast cancer.

According to statistics, about 28 million people die each year from these types of diseases in low- and middle-income countries.

Calling for improved funding in this space, Nusser added that, between one and two per cent of donor funding is going into non-communicable diseases. These diseases are the most prevalent.

“We need to be creative in finding ways to access donor funding and other sources of funding in capital markets,” said Nusser.

Nusser said, the health sector, although continually seeing a lot more investments going into it, there was more that is supposed to be done.

Nusser is also championing a programme on treatment of non-communicable diseases in rural areas at a cost of one US dollar a month per patient.

The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer in the developing world is increasing.