Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Several Worldwide NCD Initiatives

NIH’s Fogarty International Center awarded $14 million in grants to 15 research institutions to help counteract the rapid rise of chronic diseases in developing countries. Fogarty’s “Chronic, Non-Communicable Diseases and Disorders across the Lifespan (NCD-Lifespan) program funds training for research related to non-communicable health problems.

“Non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic respiratory diseases continue to ravage developing regions of the world and the lack of trained clinicians and researchers compounds the epidemic”, said Fogarty Director Dr. Roger I. Glass.

Training will be part of a trauma and injury project in Uganda, a substance abuse effort in Ukraine, and on nutrition and chronic diseases in Ghana, Malawi and Bangladesh. Other projects will focus on improving the mental health infrastructure in Southeast Asia, and training in China related to gene-environment interaction. Cancer and tobacco control training will be provided in Kenya and a planning grant will support cardiovascular research training in India.

Another worldwide project to combat Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) was launched by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The program will develop a new partnership called the “mHealth Initiative” to help others use mobile technologies such as text messaging and apps to help combat NCDs.

The ITU-WHO mHealth Initiative will be a four year project and build on current projects, existing health systems, and platforms by involving partnerships between governments, NGOs, and the private sector. WHO is already using mobile devices to carry out surveillance of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors. For example, the Global Adult Tobacco Surveillance system has used mobile phones to capture data on tobacco use in 17 countries.

WHO and ITU Member States are also testing mobile solutions for NCDs ranging from helping people increase their activity level, teaching them to eat better, and helping patients with non-communicable diseases better manage their condition. In addition, partners will share knowledge and technical expertise to help develop the standard operating procedure for each mHealth intervention as well as build support for the Initiative.

“By joining forces, ITU and WHO will fight against debilitating non-communicable diseases that can be controlled through the intervention of mHealth solutions and services that are cost effective, scalable, and sustainable,” said ITU Secretary-General Harmadoun I Toure.