Non-communicable diseases could cost Indonesia a fortune

Rising trend of non-communicable diseases could disrupt stable growth of Southeast Asia’s largest economy, leaving the country with trillion dollar burden

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Indonesia’s stable growth could be shaken as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cost the country more than five times its gross domestic product (GDP), warned the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday.

A new report, adding to the already existing report series of economics of NCDs, was launched today at the World Economic Forum in East Asia. The report, titled “the economics of NCD in Indonesia,” aims to develop a better understanding of the expected economic output loss at the country level. Highlights from the report show that there has been an increase in NCDs in Indonesia from 50.7 percent to 71 percent during 2004-2014. These figures are expected to double by 2030.

NCDs, which include cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases could cost Indonesia up to $4.5 trillion from 2012-2030. The WEF has outlined two primary causes for this increase: “First, the continuing drop in fertility and mortality has led to an ageing of society. Second, economic growth has been accompanied by rapid urbanization.”

These developments have triggered many risk factors such as poor diet, sedentary lifestyles and increased use of harmful substances. In turn, significant burdens are placed on the Indonesian economy.

On a positive note, NCDs are often reversible and interventions to reduce NCDs can provide a return on investment.

“Investing in population health not only improves health, but also contributes to prosperity and provides both social and financial protection.”

According to studies conducted by the WEF and Harvard school of public health, vaccinations and reduced tobacco consumption promise a 15 percent return on investment.

This week’s World Economic Forum in East Asia will focus on the latest reports, examining success stories of other countries in tackling NCDs, and will further seek solutions to address the problem in Indonesia and East Asia.

TRTWorld and agencies