International Health

Non-communicable Diseases

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), or chronic diseases, have become the leading causes of global mortality. NCDs account for 60 percent of deaths worldwide and are projected to contribute to 80 percent of all deaths in low and middle income countries by 2030.
In addition to their direct impact on health, NCDs – which include such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease – pose a substantial economic burden on individuals, communities, and countries due to the health care costs and income and productivity losses caused by these chronic diseases. Recent macroeconomic simulations suggest that NCDs will lead to a cumulative loss of US$47 trillion in output over the next two decades.
Abt Associates applies a systems approach to the prevention and control of NCDs. We strengthen the capacity of countries to respond to the growing burden of NCDs by equipping health workers with the knowledge and skills to provide NCD services, supporting the development of policies that facilitate comprehensive and chronic care, enabling managers to monitor the quality of care, analyzing the costs of health services, and empowering individuals to prevent and manage chronic illnesses. We collaborate with local stakeholders at all levels of the health system but focus particularly on the primary health care and community levels, where NCDs can often be detected early, managed cost-effectively, or prevented altogether.
Abt has managed programs to prevent and control NCDs in more than a dozen countries, including the United States. In Azerbaijan, Abt supported the development of the national NCD strategy and action plan and national clinical protocols for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and the management of hypertension. Abt also trained over 1,000 health workers in NCD-related protocols and helped to institutionalize a new approach to monitoring the quality of primary health care services in seven districts, which led to documented improvements in the quality of NCD care in a number of facilities, including increased routine screening for hypertension and more effective management of patients diagnosed with hypertension. In Fiji, Abt JTA is training community health nurses and dieticians to annually screen 20 percent of adults at the community level for diabetes and hypertension.
Our NCD work includes:
  • Development of clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and management of NCDs;
  • Training of health workers in implementation of NCD clinical practice guidelines;
  • Capacity building of local governments and civil society in the promotion of healthy lifestyles and reduction of risk behaviors;
  • Public-private partnerships leveraging NCD prevention and screening efforts;
  • Quality improvement processes targeting NCD care such as monitoring health worker performance and supportive supervision;
  • Policy development to expand access to NCD care; and
  • Costing of NCD services.
Story: Women around the World Take on Hypertension
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