Tackling NCDs and NTDs


​Latest news

Tackling NCDs and NTDs: the COHESION approach to addressing the SDGs

David Beran, COHESION Project, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Service de médecine tropicale et humanitaire

The COmmunity HEalth System InnovatiON (COHESION) Project, led by the Geneva University Hospitals and University of Geneva in collaboration with partners in Mozambique, Nepal and Peru and the Graduate Institute and University of Lugano, addresses the double burden of Noncommunicable diseases (NCD) and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) at primary health care (PHC) through effective research, stakeholder engagement and interventions. Jointly funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) , it uses NCDs and NTDs as tracer diseases to sustainably improve the health of vulnerable populations, in alignment with the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

NCDs represent 72.3% of all deaths globally and are the leading cause of mortality in Low and Middle-Income countries. NTDs continue to affect the poorest of the poor with both groups of diseases being diseases of poverty and causing impoverishment. Expanding the capacity of PHC to respond to these conditions can contribute to improving the health of vulnerable populations.

NCDs and NTDs: a unique lens into chronic disease

Health systems are better prepared for acute care, a shift is needed. COHESION chose NCDs (diabetes and hypertension) and NTDs (Leprosy, Schistosomiasis and Neurocysticercosis) as tracer conditions as the three NTDs have long term chronic complications, requiring similar management by the heath system as NCDs. By using NCDs and NTDs as tracer conditions, COHESION aims to avoid increasing competing demands on the health system and enable NCD and NTD interventions to benefit the health system as a whole using PHC and communities as an entry point.

The COHESION approach
Partnership is an essential ingredient of COHESION which brings together expertise and skills across seven institutions using the 11 principles proposed by the Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE) framework. In doing so, COHESION also materialises SDG17: “Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”.

A multi-level methodological approach has enabled assessment of global and national policies, health systems and communities offering an in-depth understanding of each context. The results from the research activities will inform the development of interventions and COHESION is now at the stage of finalising these through a co-design process with local stakeholders.

2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Alma Ata declaration on PHC. Although a key component to improve health, very little has been done to develop responses for chronic disease at PHC level. The COHESION Project hopes to help find innovative, efficient and sustainable ways to do just that.

To keep informed on the next steps of the COHESION Project you can follow us on Twitter: @COHESIONproject, visit our website: https://cohesionproject.info, sign up for our newsletter: https://cohesionproject.info/newsletters/ or contact us directly: https://cohesionproject.info/contact/