Indirect cost of non-communicable diseases deaths in the World Health Organization African Region

  • Joses Muthuri Kirigia
  • Germano M Mwabu
  • James Machoki M'Imunya
  • Rosenabi Deborah Karimi Muthuri
  • Lenity Honesty Kainyu Nkanata
  • Eric Bundi Gitonga


Background: In 2012, a total of 9 398 809 deaths from all causes occurred in the WHO African Region; out of which 2 788 381 (29.67%) were due to non-communicable diseases (NCD). The objective of this study was to estimate future gross domestic product (GDP) losses associated with NCD deaths in the African Region for use to advocate for increased investments into prevention and management of NCDs.
Methods: Human capital approach is used to estimate non-health GDP losses associated with NCD deaths. Future non-health GDP losses were discounted at 3%. The analysis was done for three income groups of countries and six age groups. One-way sensitivity analysis at 5% and 10% discount rates was undertaken to assess the impact on expected non-health GDP loss estimates.
Results: The 2 788 381 NCD deaths that occurred in the African Region in 2012 are estimated to have resulted in a total discounted GDP loss of Int$ 61 302 450 005. Out of that total loss, 20.36% was borne by those aged 0-4 years; 12.76% by 5-14 years; 16.64% by 15-29 years; 44.93% by 30-59 years; 2.99% by 60-69 years; and 2.33% by those aged 70 years and above. Thus, those aged between 15 and 59 years bore 61.57% of the GDP losses.
Approximately 47.4%, 33.1% and 19.5% of the total loss was borne by high and upper middle-, lower middle- and low-income countries respectively. The average total non-health GDP loss was Int$ 21 985 per NCD death. The average non-health GDP lost per NCD death was Int$ 54 534 for Group 1, Int$ 21 492 for Group 2 and Int$ 9 096 for Group 3.
Conclusion: Premature NCD deaths are associated with substantive GDP losses in countries of the African Region. Therefore, unless African countries and their development partners bolster their investments to assure universal population coverage of cost-effective promotive, preventive and management interventions for NCDs, prospects of achieving the United Nations General Assembly Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) might be greatly undermined in Africa.
Key words: Non-communicable diseases, non-health GDP loss, NCD prevention and management, human capital approach


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How to Cite
MUTHURI KIRIGIA, Joses et al. Indirect cost of non-communicable diseases deaths in the World Health Organization African Region. International Archives of Medicine, [S.l.], v. 10, mar. 2017. ISSN 1755-7682. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 july 2017. doi:
Global Health & Health Policy