Development and implementation of non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention polices in the developing countries is a multidimensional challenge. This article highlights the evolution of a strategic approach in Pakistan. The model is evidence-based and encompasses a concerted and integrated approach to NCDs. It has been modelled to impact a set of indicators through the combination of a range of actions capitalizing on the strengths of a public-private partnership. The paper highlights the merits and limitations of this approach. The experience outlines a number of clear imperatives for fostering an enabling environment for integrated NCD prevention public health models, which involve roles played by a range of stakeholders. It also highlights the value that such partnership arrangements bring in facilitating the mission and mandates of ministries of health, international agencies with global health mandates, and the non-profit private sector. The experience is of relevance to developing countries that have NCD programs running and those that need to develop them. It provides an empirical basis for enhancing the performance of the health system by fostering partnerships within integrated evidence-based models and permits an analysis of health systems models built on shared responsibility for the purpose of providing sustainable health outcomes.
Most developing countries do not comprehensively address chronic diseases as part of their health agendas because of lack of resources, limited capacity within the health system, and the threat that the institution of national-level programs will weaken local health systems and compete with other health issues. An integrated partnership-based approach, however, could obviate some of these obstacles.
In Pakistan, a tripartite public–private partnership was developed among the Ministry of Health, the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Heartfile, and World Health Organization. This was the first time an NGO participated in a national health program; NGOs typically assume a contractual role. The partnership developed a national integrated plan for health promotion and the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which as of January 2006 is in the first stage of implementation. This plan, called the National Action Plan on NCD Prevention, Control, and Health Promotion (NAP-NCD), was released on May 12, 2004, and attempts to obviate the challenges associated with addressing chronic diseases in countries with limited resources. By developing an integrated approach to chronic diseases at several levels, capitalizing on the strengths of partnerships, building on existing efforts, and focusing primary health care on chronic disease prevention, the NAP-NCD aims to mitigate the effects of national-level programs on local resources.
The impact of the NAP-NCD on population outcomes can only be assessed over time. However, this article details the plan's process, its perceived merits, and its limitations in addition to discussing challenges with its implementation, highlighting the value of such partnerships in facilitating the missions and mandates of participating agencies, and suggesting options for generalizability.
With the increasing trend in refugee urbanisation, growing numbers of refugees are diagnosed with chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). However, with few exceptions, the local and international communities prioritise communicable diseases. The aim of this study is to review the literature to determine the prevalence and distribution of chronic NCDs among urban refugees living in developing countries, to report refugee access to health care for NCDs and to compare the prevalence of NCDs among urban refugees with the prevalence in their home countries. Major search engines and refugee agency websites were systematically searched between June and July 2012 for articles and reports on NCD prevalence among urban refugees. Most studies were conducted in the Middle East and indicated a high prevalence of NCDs among urban refugees in this region, but in general, the prevalence varied by refugees’ region or country of origin. Hypertension, musculoskeletal disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease were the major diseases observed. In general, most urban refugees in developing countries have adequate access to primary health care services. Further investigations are needed to document the burden of NCDs among urban refugees and to identify their need for health care in developing countries.
Refugee; Asylum-seeker; Noncommunicable disease; Developing countries; Urban; Health care
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease, are chronic, non-infectious diseases of long duration. NCDs are increasingly widespread worldwide and are becoming a serious health and economic burden. NCDs arise from complex interactions between the genetic make-up of an individual and environmental factors. Several epidemiological studies have revealed that the perinatal environment influences health later in life, and have proposed the concept of developmental programming or developmental origin of health and disease (DOHaD). These studies suggest the importance of life course health care from fetal life, early childhood, adulthood, and through to old age. Recent progress in genomics, proteomics and diagnostic modalities holds promise for identifying high risk groups, predicting latent diseases, and allowing early intervention. Preemptive medicine is the ultimate goal of medicine, but to achieve it, the full participation of the public and all sectors of society is imperative.
non-communicable disease; developmental programming; life course health care; preemptive medicine; cohort study
Major noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) share common behavioral risk factors and deep-rooted social determinants. India needs to address its growing NCD burden through health promoting partnerships, policies, and programs. High-level political commitment, inter-sectoral coordination, and community mobilization are important in developing a successful, national, multi-sectoral program for the prevention and control of NCDs. The World Health Organization's “Action Plan for a Global Strategy for Prevention and Control of NCDs” calls for a comprehensive plan involving a whole-of-Government approach. Inter-sectoral coordination will need to start at the planning stage and continue to the implementation, evaluation of interventions, and enactment of public policies. An efficient multi-sectoral mechanism is also crucial at the stage of monitoring, evaluating enforcement of policies, and analyzing impact of multi-sectoral initiatives on reducing NCD burden in the country. This paper presents a critical appraisal of social determinants influencing NCDs, in the Indian context, and how multi-sectoral action can effectively address such challenges through mainstreaming health promotion into national health and development programs. India, with its wide socio-cultural, economic, and geographical diversities, poses several unique challenges in addressing NCDs. On the other hand, the jurisdiction States have over health, presents multiple opportunities to address health from the local perspective, while working on the national framework around multi-sectoral aspects of NCDs.
Health promotion; mainstreaming; multi-sectoral partnerships; noncommunicable diseases; social determinants of NCDs
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are now the leading cause of death in the South-East Asia Region, accounting for 55% of all deaths annually. Besides presenting a serious threat to public health, NCDs hamper socioeconomic development in the region. The situation is likely to worsen in the future. Fortunately, cost-effective and high-impact interventions to prevent and control NCDs are, however, available and at individual level, they cost next to nothing. In order to ensure that these interventions are delivered in an efficient and effective manner and have the desired impact especially in light of the prevailing economic difficulties, an integrated approach is necessary. Different approaches to integration can be used although integrating NCD interventions into the health system based on primary health care remain the best model.
Integration; noncommunicable diseases; primary health care; South-East Asia region; World health organization
Although in developing countries the burden of morbidity and mortality due to infectious diseases has often overshadowed that due to chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs), there is evidence now of a shift of attention to NCDs.
Decreasing the chronic NCD burden requires a two-pronged approach: implementation of the multisectoral policies aimed at decreasing population-level risks for NCDs, and effective and affordable delivery of primary care interventions for patients with chronic NCDs. The primary care response to common NCDs is often unstructured and inadequate. We therefore propose a programmatic, standardized approach to the delivery of primary care interventions for patients with NCDs, with a focus on hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic airflow obstruction, and obesity. The benefits of this approach will extend to patients with related conditions, e.g. those with chronic kidney disease caused by hypertension or diabetes. This framework for a "public health approach" is informed by experience of scaling up interventions for chronic infectious diseases (tuberculosis and HIV). The lessons learned from progress in rolling out these interventions include the importance of gaining political commitment, developing a robust strategy, delivering standardised interventions, and ensuring rigorous monitoring and evaluation of progress towards defined targets.
The goal of the framework is to reduce the burden of morbidity, disability and premature mortality related to NCDs through a primary care strategy which has three elements: 1) identify and address modifiable risk factors, 2) screen for common NCDs and 3) and diagnose, treat and follow-up patients with common NCDs using standard protocols. The proposed framework for NCDs borrows the same elements as those developed for tuberculosis control, comprising a goal, strategy and targets for NCD control, a package of interventions for quality care, key operations for national implementation of these interventions (political commitment, case-finding among people attending primary care services, standardised diagnostic and treatment protocols, regular drug supply, and systematic monitoring and evaluation), and indicators to measure progress towards increasing the impact of primary care interventions on chronic NCDs. The framework needs evaluation, then adaptation in different settings.
A framework for a programmatic "public health approach" has the potential to improve on the current unstructured approach to primary care of people with chronic NCDs. Research to establish the cost, value and feasibility of implementing the framework will pave the way for international support to extend the benefit of this approach to the millions of people worldwide with chronic NCDs.
Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of morbidity, mortality, and disability worldwide. More than 80% of chronic disease deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries. Epidemiological data on the burden of chronic NCD and the risk factors which predict them are lacking in most low-income countries. The INDEPTH Network (http://www.indepth-network.org) which includes the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) with many surveillance sites in low-middle income countries provided an opportunity to establish surveillance of the major chronic NCD risk factors in 2005 using a standardised approach.
This paper presents the conceptual framework and research design of the chronic NCD risk factor surveillance within nine rural INDEPTH HDSS settings in Asia.
This multi-site study was designed as a baseline cross-sectional survey with sufficient sample size to measure trends over time. In each of nine HDSS sites in five Asian countries, a sample of 2,000 men and women aged 25–64 years, using the WHO STEPwise approach to Surveillance (http://who.int/chp/steps), was selected using stratified random sampling (in each 10-year interval) from the HDSS sampling frame.
A total of 18,494 men and women from the nine sites were interviewed with an overall response rate of 98%. The major NCDs risk factors included self-reported information on tobacco and alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity patterns, and measured body weight, height, waist circumference, and blood pressure. A series of training sessions were conducted for research scientists, supervisors, and surveyors in each site. Data quality was ensured through spot check, re-check, and data validation procedures, including accuracy and completeness of data obtained. Standardised data entry programme, created using the EPIDATA software, was used to ensure uniform database structure across sites. The data merging and analysis were done using STATA Version 10.
This multi-site study confirmed the feasibility of conducting chronic NCD risk factor surveillance in the low and middle-income settings by integrating the chronic NCDs risk factor surveillance into an existing HDSS data collection and management setting. This collaborative work has provided reliable epidemiological data as a basis for developing chronic NCD prevention and control activities.
chronic non-communicable diseases; risk factor surveillance; INDEPTH Network; low-middle income countries; WHO STEPS
The double burden of communicable and noncommunicable diseases (NCD) is an increasing trend in low- and-middle income developing countries. Rural and minority populations are underserved and likely to be affected severely by these burdens. Knowledge among young people could provide immunity to such diseases within a community in the long term. In this study we aimed to assess the knowledge of several highly prevalent NCDs (diabetes, hypertension, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]) and several highly incident communicable diseases (malaria and diarrheal diseases) among Karen high school students in a rural district in far northwest of Thailand. The aim of the study is to explore information for devising life-course health education that will be strategically based in schools.
A cross-sectional survey approved by the ethics committee of Boromarajonani College of Nursing Nakhon Lampang (BCNLP), Lampang, Thailand was conducted in Thasongyang, Tak province, from September 2011 to January 2012. Questionnaires for assessing knowledge regarding diabetes, hypertension, COPD, malaria, and diarrheal diseases were delivered to all 457 Karen high school students attending Thasongyang high school. A total of 371 students returned the questionnaires. Experts’ validation and split-half reliability assessment was applied to the instrument.
Students’ main sources of health information were their teachers (62%), health care workers (60%), television (59%), and parents (54%). Familial risk factors of diabetes and hypertension were not known to more than two thirds of the students. Except obesity and physical inactivity, lifestyle-related risk factors were also not known to the students. Though living in a malaria-endemic area, many of the Karen students had poor knowledge about preventive behaviors. Half of the students could not give a correct answer about the malaria and hygienic practice, which might normally be traditionally relayed messages.
Health education and knowledge about common NCD and communicable diseases are yet to be prompted among the Karen students. A broader and more comprehensive school-based health education strategy for prevention of double burden diseases would benefit the rural minority population at the Thai-Myanmar border.
double burden diseases; Thai-Myanmar border; health information; youth; minority; adolescents
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, are a growing public health challenge in Australia, accounting for a significant and increasing cost to the health care system. Management of these chronic conditions is aided by interprofessional practice, but models of care require updating to incorporate the latest evidence-based practice. Increasing research evidence reports the benefits of physical activity and exercise on health status and the risk of inactivity to chronic disease development, yet physical activity advice is often the least comprehensive component of care. An essential but as yet underutilized player in NCD prevention and management is the “accredited exercise physiologist,” a specialist in the delivery of clinical exercise prescriptions for the prevention or management of chronic and complex conditions. In this article, the existing role of accredited exercise physiologists in interprofessional practice is examined, and an extension of their role proposed in primary health care settings.
interdisciplinary team; obesity; type 2 diabetes mellitus; exercise physiology; accredited exercise physiologist
Objective. The objective was to evaluate the capacity of primary care (PC) facilities to implement basic interventions for prevention and management of major noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Methods. A cross-sectional survey was done in eight low- and middle-income countries (Benin, Bhutan, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, and Vietnam) in 90 PC facilities randomly selected. The survey included questions on the availability of human resources, equipment, infrastructure, medicines, utilization of services, financing, medical information, and referral systems. Results and Conclusions. Major deficits were identified in health financing, access to basic technologies and medicines, medical information systems, and the health workforce. The study has provided the foundation for strengthening PC to address noncommunicable diseases. There are important implications of the findings of this study for all low- and middle-income countries as capacity of PC is fundamental for equitable prevention and control of NCDs.
The major chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) operate through a cluster of common risk factors, whose presence or absence determines not only the occurrence and severity of the disease, but also informs treatment approaches. Primary prevention based on mitigation of these common risk factors through population-based programmes is the most cost-effective approach to contain the emerging epidemic of chronic NCDs.
This study was conducted to explore the extent of risk factors clustering for the major chronic NCDs and its determinants in nine INDEPTH Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) sites of five Asian countries.
Data originated from a multi-site chronic NCD risk factor prevalence survey conducted in 2005. This cross-sectional survey used a standardised questionnaire developed by the WHO to collect core data on common risk factors such as tobacco use, intake of fruits and vegetables, physical inactivity, blood pressure levels, and body mass index. Respondents included randomly selected sample of adults (25–64 years) living in nine rural HDSS sites in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Findings revealed a substantial proportion (>70%) of these largely rural populations having three or more risk factors for chronic NCDs. Chronic NCD risk factors clustering was associated with increasing age, being male, and higher educational achievements. Differences were noted among the different sites, both between and within country.
Since there is an extensive clustering of risk factors for the chronic NCDs in the populations studied, the interventions also need to be based on a comprehensive approach rather than on a single factor to forestall its cumulative effects which occur over time. This can work best if it is integrated within the primary health care system and the HDSS can be an invaluable epidemiological resource in this endeavor.
chronic NCDs; risk factors surveillance; clustering; INDEPTH; Asia; WHO STEPS
The prevalence of non–communicable diseases (NCDs) – such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory diseases – is surging globally. Yet despite the availability of cost–effective interventions, NCDs receive less than 3% of annual development assistance for health to low and middle income countries. The top donors in global health – including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Government, and the World Bank – together commit less than 2% of their budgets to the prevention and control of NCDs. Why is there such meagre funding on the table for the prevention and control of NCDs? Why has a global plan of action aimed at halting the spread of NCDs been so difficult to achieve?
This paper aims to tackle these two interrelated questions by analysing NCDs through the lens of Jeremy Shiffman’s 2009 political priority framework. We define global political priority as ‘the degree to which international and national political leaders actively give attention to an issue, and back up that attention with the provision of financial, technical, and human resources that are commensurate with the severity of the issue’. Grounded in social constructionism, this framework critically examines the relationship between agenda setting and ‘objective’ factors in global health, such as the existence of cost–effective interventions and a high mortality burden. From a methodological perspective, this paper fits within the category of discipline configurative case study.
We support Shiffman’s claim that strategic communication – or ideas in the form of issue portrayals – ought to be a core activity of global health policy communities. But issue portrayals must be the products of a robust and inclusive debate. To this end, we also consider it essential to recognise that issue portrayals reach political leaders through a vast array of channels. Raising the political priority of NCDs means engaging with the diverse ways in which actors express concern for the global proliferation of these diseases.
Ultimately, our political interactions amount to struggles for influence, and determining which issues to champion in the midst of these struggles – and which to disregard – is informed by subjectively held notions of the right, the good, and the just. Indeed, the very act of choosing which issues to prioritise in our daily lives forces us to evaluate our values and aspirations as individual agents against the shared values that structure the societies in which we live.
India is undergoing a demographic and epidemiological transition which is influencing its health. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are posing major health and development threats, while we are grappling with communicable diseases and maternal and child health-related issues. The major NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (including stroke), diabetes, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, mental health, and injuries. Tobacco, alcohol, diet, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, and obesity are the major risk factors common to many chronic diseases. Research on NCDs under the ICMR and through other institutions has resulted in the initiation of some national health programs such as National Cancer Control Program and District Mental Health Program. Important epidemiological descriptions have informed us on the causes and distribution of NCDs and their risk factors, including the non-health determinants (poverty, education, employment, etc) and health systems assessments, have shown the inadequacies in tackling NCDs. Several global efforts and publications have provided guidance in shaping the research agenda. The special UN NCD Summit held on 19-20 September 2011 brought the world leaders to deliberate on ways to address NCDs in a concerted manner through partnerships. In this paper the authors review the present status of NCDs and their risk factors in the country and propose a strategic research agenda to provide adequate thrust to accelerate research towards a useful outcome.
India; noncommunicable diseases; research
The accelerating epidemics of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in India call for a comprehensive public health response which can effectively combat and control them before they peak and inflict severe damage in terms of unaffordable health, economic, and social costs. To synthesize and present recent evidences regarding the effectiveness of several types of public health interventions to reduce NCD burden. Interventions influencing behavioral risk factors (like unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol consumption) through policy, public education, or a combination of both have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing the NCD risk in populations as well as in individuals. Policy interventions are also effective in reducing the levels of several major biological risk factors linked to NCDs (high blood pressure; overweight and obesity; diabetes and abnormal blood cholesterol). Secondary prevention along the lines of combination pills and ensuring evidenced based clinical care are also critical. Though the evidence for health promotion and primary prevention are weaker, policy interventions and secondary prevention when combined with these are likely to have a greater impact on reducing national NCD burden. A comprehensive and integrated response to NCDs control and prevention needs a “life course approach.” Proven cost-effective interventions need to be integrated in a NCD prevention and control policy framework and implemented through coordinated mechanisms of regulation, environment modification, education, and health care responses.
Evidence base; India; NCD; public health interventions
Chronic, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have surpassed infectious diseases as the primary cause of death and disability in most developing nations. Nowhere is this more evident than in China where NCDs account for 80% of all deaths and skyrocketing medical costs. Driving the escalation of NCDs are high rates of tobacco use, longer life spans, and changes in the traditional Chinese diet and lifestyle bolstered by unprecedented economic growth and the new global culture. Despite the epidemic of NCDs, few evidence-based interventions either to prevent or retard their progression exist in China. We present a case for the development and adoption of such strategies as effective tools to combat China’s greatest health threat. Finally, we offer an example of a collaborative network linking Chinese public health and academic institutions with US researchers to promote the translation of western evidence-based interventions that fully incorporate local knowledge, culture, and capacity.
Noncommunicable disease; Tobacco control; China; Evidence-based
The premise of disease-related phenotypes is the definition of the counterpart normality in medical sciences. Contrary to clinical practices that can be carefully planned according to clinical needs, heterogeneity and uncontrollability is the essence of humans in carrying out health studies. Full characterization of consistent phenotypes that define the general population is the basis to individual difference normalization in personalized medicine. Self-claimed normal status may not represent health because asymptomatic subjects may carry chronic diseases at their early stage, such as cancer, diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis. Currently, treatments for non-communicable chronic diseases (NCD) are implemented after disease onset, which is a very much delayed approach from the perspective of predictive, preventive and personalized medicine (PPPM). A NCD pandemic will develop and be accompanied by increased global economic burden for healthcare systems throughout both developed and developing countries. This paper examples the characterization of the suboptimal health status (SHS) which represents a new PPPM challenge in a population with ambiguous health complaints such as general weakness, unexplained medical syndrome (UMS), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) and chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).
We applied clinical informatic approaches and developed a questionnaire—suboptimal health status questionnaire-25 (SHSQ-25) for measuring SHS. The validity and reliability of this approach were evaluated in a small pilot study and then in a cross-sectional study of 3,405 participants in China.
We found a correlation between SHS and systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, plasma glucose, total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol among men, and a correlation between SHS and systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol among women.
The SHSQ-25 is a self-rated questionnaire of perceived health complaints, which can be used as a new instrument for PPPM. An ongoing longitudinal SHS cohort survey (China Sub-optimal Health Cohort Study, COACS) consisting of 50,000 participants will provide a powerful health trial to use SHSQ-25 for its application to PPPM through patient stratification and therapy monitoring using innovative technologies of predictive diagnostics and prognosis: an effort of paradigm shift from reactive to predictive medicine.
Suboptimal health; Suboptimal health status questionnaire-25; Chronic disease; Predictive; Preventive and personalized medicine
Non communicable diseases (NCDs) affect the life of an individual in terms of mortality, morbidity and financial crises. Main NCDs are diabetes mellitus (DM), cardiovascular diseases (CVD), pulmonary diseases, osteoporosis and chronic kidney diseases (CKD). About 40% of the total deaths can be controlled by eliminating the risk factors for NCDs. Periodontitis have recently been labeled as an important potential risk factor for NCDs. CKD affect the oral health status of patients by inducing gingival hyperplasia, xerostomia, calcification of root canals and delayed eruption of teeth. Periodontitis increases systemic inflammatory burden leading to worsening of CKD which in turn has been has been found to negatively affect CKD of patients on hemodialysis therapy by altering their serum albumin and C-reactive protein levels. As hypoalbuminemia leads to increased mortality in CKD patients, it needs to be avoided by reducing systemic inflammatory burden in patients receiving HD therapy. Treating periodontal disease could be one factor that might decrease the systemic inflammatory burden and thereby improve quality of life of these patients.
Sources of Data: Data from descriptive, cross sectional and longitudinal studies published between 2000 and 2012 were included. Data searches based on human studies only.
Data Extraction: The key words, periodontitis, chronic kidney disease and hemodialysis, on MEDLINE, approximately 120 studies were identified. 35 of them were relevant to all three keywords. Most of them were cross sectional studies and total 7 clinical trials were identified regarding checking of serum levels after periodontal therapy with variable results.
Conclusion: Patients with CKD have higher prevalence of periodontal disease while non-surgical periodontal therapy has been indicated to decrease the systemic inflammatory burden in patients with CKD specially those undergoing HD therapy.
Periodontitis; Hemodialysis; Chronic kidney disease; Albumin; C-reactive protein
Treatment services constitute one of the five priority actions to face the global crisis due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). It is important to formulate standard treatment guidelines (STGs) for an effective management, particularly at the primary and secondary levels of health care. Dissemination and implementation of STGs for NCDs on a country-wide scale involves difficult and complex issues. The management of NCDs and the associated costs are highly variable and huge. Besides the educational strategies for promotion of STGs, the scientific and administrative sanctions and sanctity are important for purposes of reimbursements, insurance, availability of facilities, and legal protection. An effective and functional referral- system needs to be built to ensure availability of appropriate care at all levels of health- services. The patient-friendly “to and fro” referral system will help to distribute the burden, lower the costs, and maintain the sustainability of services.
Chronic respiratory disease; evidence-based guidelines; noncommunicable diseases; primary care; referral system; standard treatment guidelines
Non-communicable disease continues to be an important public health problem in India, being responsible for a major proportion of mortality and morbidity. Demographic changes, changes in the lifestyle along with increased rates of urbanization are the major reasons responsible for the tilt towards the non-communicable diseases. In India, there is no regular system for collecting data on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which can be said to be of adequate coverage or quality. Lack of trained health care workers, primary care providers armed with inadequate knowledge and skills along with ill-defined roles of various health sectors i.e. public, private, and voluntary sectors in providing care have played key hurdles in combating the growing burden of non-communicable diseases. Empowerment of the community through effective health education, use of trained public health personnel along with provision of free health care and social insurance would prove beneficial in effectively controlling the growing prevalence of NCDs.
Non-communicable diseases; Cardiovascular diseases; Burden; India
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) have been recognized as a major health threat in the US-affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) and health officials declared it an emergency.1 In an effort to address this emergent pandemic, the Pacific Chronic Disease Council (PCDC) conducted an assessment in all six USAPI jurisdictions which include American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and the Republic of Palau to assess the capacity of the administrative, clinical, support, and data systems to address the problems of NCD. Findings reveal significant gaps in addressing NCDs across all jurisdictions and the negative impact of lifestyle behaviors, overweight, and obesity on the morbidity and mortality of the population. In addition, stakeholders from each site identified and prioritized administrative and clinical systems of service needs.
Mozambique is located on the East Coast of Africa bordering South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania and is one of the poorest countries in the world. Currently NCDs account for 28% of deaths in Mozambique. Risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol use and poor diet are present in both urban and rural settings. Diseases such as hypertension and diabetes affect large proportions of the population, but people are often unaware of their condition or poorly managed. Data from studies on diabetes highlight the financial burden for NCD management in Mozambique for both the individual and health system. The National Strategic Plan for the prevention and control of NCDs in Mozambique has as its aim to create a positive environment to minimise or eliminate the exposure to risk factors and guarantee access to care. The plan has as its overall objective to reduce exposure to risk factors and morbidity and mortality due to NCDs and has 4 areas of intervention: 1) Prevention and health education with regards to NCDs; 2) Access to quality care, treatment and follow-up; 3) Prevention of disability and premature mortality and 4) Surveillance, research, monitoring and evaluation and advocacy for NCDs. The Ministry of Health developed projects for diabetes and hypertension and used these as key lessons that could then be applied to other NCDs. Mozambique, through political commitment from the Ministry of Health and the dedication of local champions, has been able to garner international support to improve care for people with diabetes and then use this to develop its National Plan for NCDs. Despite this increase in attention resources available do not match the challenge of NCDs in Mozambique. Mozambique’s experience provides a practical example of actions that can be undertaken in a resource poor country to tackle the emerging burden of NCDs.
The paper emphasizes the vital need to address the rising burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in India with a health systems approach. The authors argue that adoption of such approach may soon be imperative. Applying the health systems framework developed by the WHO in 2000 to NCDs means in summary re-examining the planning and organization of the entire health system, from service provision to financing, from information generation to ensuring adequate supply of pharmaceuticals/technologies or human resources, from improving facility management to performance monitoring. Using this framework the authors seek to highlight core issues and identify possible policy actions required. The challenge is to ensure the best implementation of what works, aligning the service provision function with the financial incentives, ensuring leadership/stewardship by the government across local/municipal, state or regional and national level while involving stakeholders. A health system perspective would also ensure that action against NCD goes hand in hand with tackling the remaining burden from communicable diseases, maternal, child health and nutrition issues.
Noncommunicable diseases; India; Health system approaches
Historically, health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have mainly managed acute, infectious diseases. Few data exist for the preparedness of African health facilities to handle the growing epidemic of chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs). We assessed the burden of NCDs in health facilities in northwestern Tanzania and investigated the strengths of the health system and areas for improvement with regard to primary care management of selected NCDs.
Between November, 2012, and May, 2013, we undertook a cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 24 public and not-for-profit health facilities in urban and rural Tanzania (four hospitals, eight health centres, and 12 dispensaries). We did structured interviews of facility managers, inspected resources, and administered self-completed questionnaires to 335 health-care workers. We focused on hypertension, diabetes, and HIV (for comparison). Our key study outcomes related to service provision, availability of guidelines and supplies, management and training systems, and preparedness of human resources.
Of adult outpatient visits to hospitals, 58% were for chronic diseases compared with 20% at health centres, and 13% at dispensaries. In many facilities, guidelines, diagnostic equipment, and first-line drug therapy for the primary care of NCDs were inadequate, and management, training, and reporting systems were weak. Services for HIV accounted for most chronic disease visits and seemed stronger than did services for NCDs. Ten (42%) facilities had guidelines for HIV whereas three (13%) facilities did for NCDs. 261 (78%) health workers showed fair knowledge of HIV, whereas 198 (59%) did for hypertension and 187 (56%) did for diabetes. Generally, health systems were weaker in lower-level facilities. Front-line health-care workers (such as non-medical-doctor clinicians and nurses) did not have knowledge and experience of NCDs. For example, only 74 (49%) of 150 nurses had at least fair knowledge of diabetes care compared with 85 (57%) of 150 for hyptertension and 119 (79%) of 150 for HIV, and only 31 (21%) of 150 had seen more than five patients with diabetes in the past 3 months compared with 50 (33%) of 150 for hypertension and 111 (74%) of 150 for HIV.
Most outpatient services for NCDs in Tanzania are provided at hospitals, despite present policies stating that health centres and dispensaries should provide such services. We identified crucial weaknesses (and strengths) in health systems that should be considered to improve primary care for NCDs in Africa and identified ways that HIV programmes could serve as a model and structural platform for these improvements.
UK Medical Research Council.
The scale-up of HIV services in sub-Saharan Africa has catalyzed the development of highly effective chronic care systems. The strategies, systems, and tools developed to support life-long HIV care and treatment are locally owned contextually appropriate resources, many of which could be adapted to support continuity care for noncommunicable chronic diseases (NCD), such as diabetes mellitus (DM). We conducted two proof-of-concept studies to further the understanding of the status of NCD programs and the feasibility and effectiveness of adapting HIV program-related tools and systems for patients with DM. In Swaziland, a rapid assessment illustrated gaps in the approaches used to support DM services at 15 health facilities, despite the existence of chronic care systems at HIV clinics in the same hospitals, health centers, and clinics. In Ethiopia, a pilot study found similar gaps in DM services at baseline and illustrated the potential to rapidly improve the quality of care and treatment for DM by adapting HIV-specific policies, systems, and tools.