IFRC Framework for Noncommunicable diseases


A noncommunicable disease (NCD) is defined as a disease which is not infectious. Such diseases may result from genetic or lifestyle factors. Current evidence indicates that four types of NCDs (i.e. cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases) account for almost two third of all deaths globally, with 80 per cent of these deaths occurring in low-income and middle-income countries.
NCDs are a leading threat to health and development. Yet, these diseases are preventable. By eliminating shared risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol, almost 80 per cent of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and over a third of all cancers could be prevented. In addition, improved disease management can reduce morbidity, disability and death and contribute to better health outcomes. Overall, proven cost-effective strategies do exist to prevent and control this growing burden.  

What can Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) do?

NCDs prevention is fully consistent with IFRC Strategy 2020 under Strategic Aim 2 - To enable healthy and safe living. It encourages “action on the underlying social, behavioural and environmental factors that determine good health” and helps to achieve “better personal and community health and more inclusive public health systems.”

Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies can play an active role in NCDs prevention and control, and can contribute to all objectives of the WHO 2008-2013 Action Plan on NCDs with high emphasis on prevention areas.

  • Develop and implement NCDs prevention programmes using a holistic health approach (e.g. community-based health and first aid / CBHFA approach) on preventing shared risk factors and promoting healthy life style; focusing on targeted populations (population-based and high risk approach).
  • Integrate NCDs prevention with other community-based programmes.
  • Address NCDs during emergencies
  • Identify and test different innovative evidence-based approaches in addressing NCDs (e.g. through new technologies, virtual working groups, social media, youth networks etc.)
  • Develop and test prevention tools, which will be adapted and used in different setting of community-based prevention (rural, urban, migrant workers, workplace, school etc.)
  • Conduct operational research to test and refine our approach to insure the best results in behaviour changes.
  • Develop simple planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting tools to be adapted and used at the community level to ensure high quality of implementation.
  • Represent and highlight RCRC contributions in NCDs prevention and control (e.g. good practices, case studies, research papers etc.)
  • Coordinate and link with ministries of health (MoH), WHO, and other main organizations, stakeholders, academics and associations at global, regional and national levels.
  • Develop partnership agreements with private sector, foundations, and main donors to support RCRC implementation of NCDs prevention at global, regional and national levels.
  • Advocate at the global, regional and national levels to raise the priority of NCDs prevention.
  • Advocate at the national level to adapt national polices on NCDs prevention and control.

Overall, the Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies has a long history of disease prevention and health promotion, and they are in a unique position to be pioneers in implementing NCDs prevention programmes using a holistic health approach.