The incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), in particular, the chronic diseases attributed to lifestyle factors
linked to poor diet, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol abuse, are rising dramatically throughout the world.
Already, chronic diseases are the leading cause of death, and, if this trend continues, they threaten to overwhelm national health provision and cause untold societal and economic damage. And yet most of these diseases – in particular cardiovascular diseases (CVD), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and type 2 diabetes – are preventable.
The size and complexity of the problem, with most determinants of the major NCDs lying outside the influence of the traditional health sector, requires a broad and deep response, involving many stakeholders in public, private and civil society.
This paper sets out the rationale for an ‘all-of-society’, multi-sectoral partnership approach to preventing and treating NCDs, focusing in particular on the potential business contribution to the issue. It contains a number of examples of effective partnerships between business, government and civil society, which illustrate how partnerships
can achieve win-win outcomes. It also considers the sensitivities that need to be considered when marrying commercial imperatives with the public good.
Bringing together the many diverse interests and finding common ground is a major challenge, but also a major opportunity: to join the many streams of action into a torrent of change and scale them up through multi-sectoral
action and partnerships.