Global threats are rising. Rising inequity, rising discontent against political leaders, extremism, terrorism. As we grow more globalized, more inter-connected, so do we grow more vulnerable to each other's difficulties.
Many Kenyans are surviving AIDS only to live long enough to be killed by NCDs. Annually, 28 million people die from NCDs in low- and middle-income countries like Kenya, representing nearly 75 percent of deaths from NCDs globally.
After a disaster, when stress may be ubiquitous and access to medications scant, routine cases of cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease and diabetes can quickly evolve into life-threatening emergencies.
While 2016 will be full of unknowns, one thing is certain: each of us will grow older. Luckily, that's not such a bad thing. The year 2016 will be a great year to age, as the mega-trend of population aging continues to drive innovation globally.
The call for increased investment in noncommunicable diseases is growing louder, from rural hospital doctors to the 12 first ladies in Africa who are calling for more financing to fight cancer on the continent. These voices can no longer remain unanswered.
So, how can we meaningfully address NCDs worldwide? It must be done through strategic partnerships, where we leverage the skills and expertise of each player. It's only then can we build healthier and wealthier communities.
The outbreak demonstrates the critical need to strengthen health systems overall and dramatically increase the number of health workers, particularly in poor and rural areas where diseases can thrive undetected.
The increasing threat of non-communicable diseases (often called chronic diseases or NCDs) prompted the United Nations, in 2011, to issue the second political declaration on health in its history, the first being on AIDS in 2006.
Instituting ill-conceived changes will not only fail to rein in Medicare's long-term spending growth, but will inflict severe and unnecessary harm on our nation's poor and elderly who are suffering from serious physical and behavioral illnesses.
Given what we know about depression, mental illness, and the potential economic vitality of a healthy, active aging population, there is one solution that can "move the needle": the age-friendly workplace.
We must seize this unprecedented global movement to improve policy and services on the ground for the most vulnerable women and children. Because when you take care of women, women take care of their children and indeed the whole world.
In the developing world, this inequity is something that we face every day -- the tragedy of cancer typified by a little girl with a disease with a 90 percent chance of a cure who looks at us with big brown eyes, full of unspeakable pain, to ask, "Will you treat me?"