South Africa has a plan to tackle non-communicable diseases

Here’s what you should know

My Body, My Health: My Wealth team
two female students eating apples
UNICEF South Africa/2022/Hearfield
03 April 2023

The My Body, My Health: My Wealth campaign comes at a time when South Africa has recognised that due to the high prevalence and mortality rate associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer, the country’s fight against them needs to be prioritised at the same level as diseases such as Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

NCDs have a tremendous impact on youth around the world. In South Africa, persistent high rates of overweight and obesity, particularly among adolescent girls, is putting lives at risk, as the transition phase between childhood and adulthood is a critical period for the onset of obesity-associated morbidity. Some 31.3 per cent of 15-19-year-old females are overweight or obese, compared to 9.6 per cent of males in the same age range. **

The country’s National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NSP-NCDs) sets out to achieve five specific goals:

  1. Prioritise prevention and control of NCDs,
  1. Promote and enable health and wellness across the life course,
  2. Ensure people living with *NCDs+  receive integrated, people-centred health services to prevent and control NCDs+,
  3. Promote and support national capacity for high-quality research and development for the prevention and control of NCDs+,
  4. Monitor strategic trends and determinants of NCDs+ to evaluate progress in their prevention and control.

The NSP-NCDs seeks to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.4, namely, to reduce, by one-third, premature mortality from NCDs through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being by 2030.

*NCDs+ refers to the entire group of NCD conditions, including risk factors and disabilities.

** Statistics come from the South Africa Demographic Health Survey (SADHS 2016), as well as the UNICEF South Africa 2022 study on diet and physical activity among adolescents and youth in South Africa.

Download the 
National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, 2022 – 2027 [pdf]

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