Healthier together: Reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases

Besides Europe´s Beating Cancer Plan, the European Commission is working on a new Healthier Together – EU Non-communicable diseases (NCD) initiative to support EU countries in reducing the burden of NCDs.

The Beating Cancer Plan is part of the Horizon Europe which is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. The programme facilitates collaboration and strengthens the impact of research and innovation in developing, supporting and implementing EU policies while tackling global challenges. It supports creating and better dispersing of excellent knowledge and technologies.

Why is the new initiative necessary?

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, mental disorders, neurological disorders, or cancer are responsible for 80% of the disease burden in the EU countries and are the leading causes of avoidable premature deaths.

The costs of these diseases are high and are expected to further grow due to the ageing population of the EU. Furthermore, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, people suffering from NCDs can be more affected by other diseases as well.

Reducing the burden of NCDs requires a holistic approach and tackling health inequalities across the board. Most importantly, health promotion and disease prevention can reduce it by as much as 70%.

What is the EU approach?

The initiative involves an integrated response focusing on prevention across sectors and policy fields, combined with efforts to strengthen health systems in 5 key focus areas:

  • cardiovascular diseases
  • diabetes
  • chronic respiratory diseases
  • mental health and neurological disorders
  • health determinants

While focusing on promotion and prevention, this initiative may also support better knowledge and data, screening and early detection, diagnosis and treatment management, and quality of life of patients.

Support will in all cases focus on implementation, helping EU countries to transfer best practices, develop guidelines, roll out innovative approaches, etc. Stakeholders will be supported in actions that can contribute to the same objectives.

In the coming months, priorities, actions and synergies with policy areas relevant to the reduction of NCDs burden will be discussed with EU countries in the Steering Group on Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Management of Non-Communicable Diseases.


Would you like to join the specific webinars about the development of the initiative?

Check here to find out how to participate!