Chronic diseases and health promotion

Part Four - Taking action: essential steps for success

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

Advocating for action. Spotlight: Latin America

Information on population need must be synthesized and disseminated in a way that encourages policy action at national level. Policy-makers should be informed of national trends in risk factors, the current and projected problem of chronic diseases in the country, and the existence of cost-effective interventions for prevention and control. Communication methods for influencing policy-makers include:

  • Media features, which influence the views of the general public (including, where relevant, voters) as well as policy-makers directly.
  • Identification and engagement of community leaders and other influential members of society who can spread the message in different forums.
  • One-on-one meetings with policy-makers.

Spotlight: Advocating for action in Latin America and the Caribbean

The WHO Regional Office for the Americas (AMRO) held a series of workshops in collaboration with the International Union Against Cancer to advocate for cervical cancer prevention policies and programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean. More than 300 key stakeholders from ministries of health, nongovernmental organizations, medical and professional associations, and international agencies participated. The workshops were structured to help build alliances between national governments and other stakeholders and to create a forum for the exchange of technical information. The objectives were to achieve consensus on the need for, and the process by which, cervical cancer prevention and control could be placed on the agenda, and to encourage countries to strengthen or develop their cervical cancer prevention and control programmes.

Following the workshops, more than 10 countries in the region critically assessed their programmes with assistance from AMRO, devised strategic programme plans and received seed funding to implement new strategies for cervical cancer prevention. Through meetings with ministers of health, joint planning and technical cooperation agendas have been established, and in the Caribbean Caucus of Ministers of Health a strategic plan was presented and adopted for a sub-regional approach to screening and treatment.