Non-communicable diseases (NCD) have become the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the population in Pakistan, leading to an estimated loss of US $3.5 billion annually just from productive life years lost. The prevalence of hypertension has increased exponentially, with trends data suggesting reversal of the social gradient over the last decade tilting a heavier burden on the disadvantaged population. Pakistan has the sixth highest number of people in the world with diabetes, every fourth adult is overweight and the condition is rapidly escalating in children, cigarettes are cheap, anti-smoking regulations are poorly enforced, and mixed public-private healthcare system provide suboptimal care. Unfortunately, the unstable geo-political situation in Pakistan has retarded economic and social development in the country. Despite these challenges, evidence also indicates that reconfiguration of the health systems framework using the existing physician and non-physician workforce can yield promising results with economically efficient, affordable, and sustainable programs for NCD prevention and control. A National Commission on NCDs has also been proposed for recommendations on programs and policies. Successful implementation of these efforts is urgent and essential for translation of evidence to improved NCD outcomes in this high risk population.
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