Globally, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, including in the WHO European region. Within this region, the Member States with the greatest cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden are also some of the lowest resourced. As the need for technical support for the implementation of essential CVD/NCD interventions in primary healthcare (PHC) in these regions grew urgent, the WHO Regional Office for Europe has been directly supporting national governments in the development, assessment, scale-up and quality improvement of large scale PHC interventions for CVD. Herein, we synthesise the key learnings from providing technical support to national governments under the auspices of the WHO across the European region and share these learnings as a resource for public health professionals to consider when increasing coverage of quality essential health services. Based on our experience providing technical support to a diversity of Member States in the European Region (eg, Tajikistan, Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan), we have identified six key lessons: prioritising NCDs for public health intervention, identifying and mapping existing resources, engaging key stakeholders, tailoring interventions to the local health system, generating local evidence and ensuring quality improvement while mainstreaming. Common challenges across all phases of implementation include multiple and inconsistent international toolkits and guidance, lack of national capacity for evidence-based healthcare, limited access to essential medicines and technologies, inconsistent national guidelines and limited experience in evaluation methodology, clinical epidemiology and guideline implementation. We map the lessons to the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research and highlight key learnings and challenges specific to the region. Member States in the region are at various stages of implementation; however, several are currently conducting pragmatic clinical trials to generate local evidence for health policy. As this work expands, greater engagement with peer-to-peer sharing of contextual wisdom, sharing of resources, publishing methodology and results and development of region-specific resources is planned.
- cardiovascular disease
- public health
- health systems
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Handling editor Seye Abimbola
Contributors DC, TL and JF conceptualised and wrote the manuscript. All authors agreed on the final version.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement There are no data to share.
Author note JF is a staff member of the World Health Organization. JF alone is responsible for the views expressed in this publication and they do not necessarily represent the views, decisions or policies of the World Health Organization.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.