NCD Surveillance

Explaining surveillance

Why invest in surveillance?

Currently noncommunicable diseases represent 43% of the global burden of disease. By the year 2020 this figure is expected to rise to 60% with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) representing 70% of all deaths. This prediction, resulting from recently gathered country-level data, indicates the emerging epidemic of NCDs.

Better surveillance at country level, provides better health information and thus better opportunities for countries to improve the health of their citizens.

Surveillance offers a systematic approach to data collection and is crucial in helping countries monitor and evaluate emerging patterns and trends of disease.

By using health data, governments can formulate policies and programmes to prevent disease and to measure the progress, impact, and efficacy of preventive efforts already in operation.

Surveillance rationale

Surveillance of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) has been neglected in modern public health. Risk factors for noncommunicable diseases are the focus of surveillance in NMH. Data on noncommunicable disease (NCD) risk factors are important for predicting the future burden of chronic disease in populations and also for identifying potential interventions to reduce the future burden.

As a response to the resolution, a global surveillance initiative – Cross Cluster Surveillance – was formed within Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health in WHO.

The goal of the initiative was to develop guidelines and infrastructure for NCD surveillance worldwide and to provide global information resources on risk factor burden.

The overall objective was to monitor emerging patterns and trends worldwide with the aim of containing and reducing noncommunicable diseases, particularly in developing countries.