Coordinated Global Action Vital To Effective NCD Response In Low-, Middle-Income Countries

The BMJ: Time to align: development cooperation for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases
Téa E. Collins, adviser for the Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases at the WHO, and colleagues

“…Until recently, … non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have not been seen as part of the global development agenda, and external resources for their prevention and control have been negligible. A change in the disease profile from communicable diseases to NCDs in low- and middle-income countries resulted in the inclusion of NCDs in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Nonetheless, health systems in those countries are ill prepared to deal with the high epidemiological and economic costs of chronic conditions. These conditions have now been recognized in global political forums. … What does the combination of greater political intent and weak existing ability to deal with NCDs mean for development assistance for health? … For country specific assistance for NCDs, and to deal with imbalance in the allocations of development assistance for health to incorporate NCDs, we propose some immediate priorities. Firstly, countries must be supported to have fully costed multisectoral action plans. … Secondly, countries need help to introduce robust intragovernmental coordination and oversight functions. … Thirdly, full examination of legislative function and oversight for the regulation of products and processes harmful to health, including those of polluting industries, is vital for countries to be able to scale up their national responses. Fourthly, international support will be required to help low- and middle-income countries to communicate the urgent need for accelerated investments in NCD prevention and control. … Finally, the integration of NCDs into universal health coverage assessment, planning, financing, and capacity building will need large scale normative and technical assistance” (7/31).