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Responding to non-communicable diseases in Zambia: a policy analysis.

Mukanu, Mulenga M; Zulu, Joseph Mumba; Mweemba, Chrispin; Mutale, Wilbroad.
Health Res Policy Syst; 15(1): 34, 2017 Apr 24.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | Abr 2017 | ID: mdl-28438177
Resumo: BACKGROUND: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are an emerging global health concern. Reports have shown that, in Zambia, NCDs are also an emerging problem and the government has begun initiating a policy response. The present study explores the policy response to NCDs by the Ministry of Health in Zambia using the policy triangle framework of Walt and Gilson. METHODS: A qualitative approach was used for the study. Data collected through key informant interviews with stakeholders who were involved in the NCD health policy development process as well as review of key planning and policy documents were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: The government's policy response was as a result of international strategies from WHO, evidence of increasing disease burden from NCDs and pressure from interest groups. The government developed the NCD strategic plan based on the WHO Global Action Plan for NCDs 2013-2030. Development of the NCD strategic plan was driven by the government through the Ministry of Health, who set the agenda and adopted the final document. Stakeholders participated in the fine tuning of the draft document from the Ministry of Health. The policy development process was lengthy and this affected consistency in composition of the stakeholders and policy development momentum. Lack of representative research evidence for some prioritised NCDs and use of generic targets and indicators resulted in the NCD strategic plan being inadequate for the Zambian context. The interventions in the strategic plan also underutilised the potential of preventing NCDs through health education. Recent government pronouncements were also seen to be conflicting the risk factor reduction strategies outlined in the NCD strategic plan. CONCLUSION: The content of the NCD strategic plan inadequately covered all the major NCDs in Zambia. Although contextual factors like international strategies and commitments are crucial catalysts to policy development, there is need for domestication of international guidelines and frameworks to match the disease burden, resources and capacities in the local context if policy measures are to be comprehensive, relevant and measurable. Such domestication should be guided by representative local research evidence.