Chronic diseases and health promotion

Part Four - Taking action: essential steps for success

Chapter One: Providing a unifying framework - the role of government

Key messages

A sound and explicit government policy is the key to effective prevention and control of chronic diseases. This chapter outlines a stepwise framework that ministries of health can use to create a policy and regulatory environment in which other sectors can operate successfully. The guidance and recommendations provided in this chapter may be used by national as well as sub-national level policy-makers and planners.

  • The national government’s unifying framework for chronic disease prevention and control will ensure that actions at all levels and by all sectors are mutually supportive.
  • Integrated prevention and control strategies are most effective – focusing on the common risk factors and cutting across specific diseases.
  • Comprehensive public health action requires a combination of interventions for the whole population and for individuals.
  • Most countries will not have the resources immediately to do everything that would ideally be done. Those activities which are most feasible given the existing context should be implemented first: this is the stepwise approach.
  • Because major determinants of the chronic disease burden lie outside the health sector, intersectoral action is necessary at all stages of policy formulation and implementation.
  • Locally relevant and explicit milestones should be established for each step and at each level of intervention, with a particular focus on reducing health inequalities.
The stepwise framework