Project HOPE helped co-sponsor and organize the third annual conference on Chronic Disease Management in Beijing last month. More than 1000 attendees joined this 2-day conference and it was so promising that most attendees were from community health centers and local Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as these are “the centers of action” where programs can have the most impact. Project HOPE invited Michael Engelgau, from the CDC, and Charlotte Block, Program Officer for Project HOPE, as guest speakers for the conference. Engelgau shared the United Nations’ strategy on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) as well as experiences from the U.S. CDC such as the United States’ “Million HeartsTM” program which has a target to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in 5 years! Engelgau also spoke of the recent commitment at the 65th World Health Assembly in May 2012 to “reduce preventable NCD deaths 25% by 2025” (aka“25 by 25”.) I believe this may be the second biggest milestone on the NCD epidemic, the first being the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs, as it brings consensus on global reduction targets for NCD risk factors.
Jenny Xu, Project HOPE’s Nutrition program manager, was even more excited to learn that the China Ministerial of Health defined specific NCD indicators for China and has commissioned 15 National Ministers and sectors to collaborate on this initiative. Jenny shared that “the Chinese government has conducted different pilot programs in several provinces and those programs were shared at the conference, but having committed indicators on NCD is a first!” I need to locate the specifics of these indicators so we can potentially align them with HOPE efforts where appropriate as I’m working with HOPE on developing an NCD Provider’s Manual.
Charlotte kicked off day two by providing an excellent overview of the NCD epidemic. Charlotte highlighted four key reduction areas under discussion as a result of the “25 by 25”; those being a 25% for high blood pressure, 30% for smoking, 30% in salt intake to Like most everyone, I’m always excited to see concrete indicators and targets set as these are! It enables us to outline an action plan to climb that hill (NCD is probably more like a mountain actually!) by knowing where we are (baseline measures) and what we must do to successfully reach the set goals or global targets. The great thing is that once most of us successfully reach a major milestone, the motivation and energy level usually grows to push you toward next steps and new milestones even if we’re exhausted! Even more importantly, we must come up for air to celebrate our successes along the way!
Connie Lieu is a Pfizer Global Health Fellow volunteering with Project HOPE China to strengthen health on non-communicable disease prevention, intervention, and management for patients with risk factors, and health care providers.
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