In the Lancet of 6 September 2011 there was a prepublication of the article ‘Tackling NCDs: a different approach is needed’ by De Maeseneer et al. of the network 'Towards Unity For Health', Ghent University, Belgium.
The NCD Alliance aims to put non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on the global agenda to address the NCD crisis. Improving outcomes in morbidity and mortality by 2015 will clearly depend to a large extent on tackling the burden of NCDs, especially in developing countries.
The NCD Alliance seems to offer a conflicted strategy. On the one hand, a vertical and disease-oriented approach is recommended, such as developing a multidrug combination for people at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, the NCD Alliance calls for strengthening health systems, particularly primary health care. Yet their vision of primary care is limited and ambiguous. Primary care is seen as an opportunity for case finding (for the disease-oriented programmes), but is overlooked as the source of comprehensive care that integrates and coordinates care for all health problems and engages individuals, families, and the community. It is here that primary care secures the real added value for health care and the health of people.
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