Overview - Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment
Taking the first steps
Every country, regardless of the level of its resources, has the potential to make significant improvements in chronic disease prevention and control, and to take steps towards achieving the global goal. Resources are necessary, but a large amount can be achieved for little cost, and the benefits far outweigh the costs. Leadership is essential, and will have far more impact than simply adding capital to already overloaded health systems. There is important work to be done in countries at all stages of development. In the poorest countries, many of which are experiencing upsurges in chronic disease risks, it is vital that supportive policies are in place to reduce risks and curb the epidemics before they take hold. In countries with established chronic disease problems, additional measures will be required, not only to prevent disease, but also to manage illness and disability.
Part Four of this report details the stepwise framework for implementing recommended measures. The framework offers a flexible and practical public health approach to assist ministries of health to balance diverse needs and priorities while implementing evidence-based interventions. While there cannot be a "one size fits all" prescription for implementation – each country must consider a range of factors in establishing priorities – using the stepwise framework will make a major contribution to the prevention and control of chronic disease, and will assist countries in their efforts to achieve the global goal by 2015.