Noncommunicable diseases represent a significant burden to the American continent, being the main cause of disease and early death which can be prevented in the region. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) refer to cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and cancer in the 2013-2019 Action plan for noncommunicable diseases prevention and control in the Americas. This document corresponds to the 2012-2025 Strategy for noncommunicable diseases prevention and control, which also considers four main risk factors: smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet and physical inactivity.
This Action plan suggests 4 strategic lines of action to reduce noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) mortality and complications, lowering the socioeconomic burden that represents to the countries, while promoting equity and wellness among their populations.
The 1st strategic line includes policy implementation and alliances among different sectors, on NCDs prevention and control, through:
- Prevention beyond health sector, as in education, work, agriculture and farming, trade, urban planning and transport.
- Enhancement of existing health plans or its formulation at national level with a multi-sector approach.
- Universal health coverage, besides access to healthcare services which promote, prevent, treat, rehabilitate and provide enough, safe and affordable medicine and technology for NCDs treatment.
For this purpose, the National Strategy for Overweight, Obesity and Diabetes Prevention and Control is available in Mexico, which establishes strategic alliances among different sectors. Moreover, there are several public health services provided linked to workers and their families, as well as Seguro Popular, which covers those who do not have social security for medical expenses.
The 2nd line comprises the risk and protection factors for NCDs through proved interventions, especially for vulnerable populations:
- Reduction of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Decrease on excessive alcohol consumption to the recommendation at a national level.
- Healthy eating promotion, reducing consumption of foods and beverages with high content of saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars and sodium, as well as removing partially hydrogenated-fats from food.
- Boost of an active life which prevents obesity and physical inactivity reduction.
Inside the Mexican Republic, guidance is given on tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as smoking restriction in public areas. Besides, there are active campaigns which promote healthy habits and physical activity, as well as overweight, obesity and chronic diseases prevention.
The 3rd strategic line encompasses the efficient response of health systems to NCDs, as well as to promote its prevention, early diagnosis and timely treatment, on:
- Quality improvement on comprehensive NCDs treatment, with evidence-based and cost-effective measures and support from a multidisciplinary team and health information systems.
- Medication and technology access and use to detect, diagnose, treat, control, rehabilitate and give palliative care for NCDs.
The 4th strategic line focuses on monitoring and research, by using health information systems, which allow analyzing the information and using it to formulate policy and program planning, based on:
- Data collection on early death and incidence of NCDs, as well as risk or protection factors (anthropometry, tobacco and alcohol consumption; blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels; physical inactivity; fruit, vegetable, sodium and sugar consumption; medication use).
- Research enhancement to enrich current evidence to be used to plan, monitor and evaluate NCDs-related policy and programs.
The Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography collects population data, as well as the National Health and Nutrition Survey, which is carried out every six years. These data are collected in the Mexican Observatory for Noncommunicable Diseases.
The WHO and OPS Action plan intends to guide American countries to perform cost-effective, evidence-based interventions, in conjunction with other effective actions on risk and protection factors. An adequate use of health systems would allow obtaining new knowledge and using it in benefit of the population. These actions have the objective to improve the quality of life of individuals who suffer from NCDs as well as the general population.
World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization. Plan de acción para la prevención y el control de las enfermedades no transmisibles en las Américas 2013-2019. 2014.
Available from: Seguro popular. Available from: http://www.seguropopular.org/