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Global Health Centre

Addressing the double burden of disease: improving health systems for Noncommunicable and Neglected Tropical Diseases

  • Research Team: Beran, David (Geneva university Hospitals, Division of Tropical and Humanitarian Medicine ; and University of Geneva); Cattacin, Sandro (University of Geneva); Chappuis, Francois (Geneva University Hospitals and University of Geneva); Damasceno, Albertino- Eduardo (Monlane University, Maputo, Mozambique); Jha, Nilambar (B.P Koirala Institute of Health Sciences. Dharan, Nepal);  Miranda, Jaime (Universidad Peruana Ceyetano Heredia, Lima, Peru); Somerville, Claire (Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva); Suggs, Suzanne (Universita della Svizzera Italiana).
  • Project Owners: Geneva University Hospitals and University of Geneva, in collaboration with in-country partners and other Swiss institutions
  • Project Status: Ongoing until December 2021
  • Keywords: Health systems, universal health coverage, disease burden, gender, noncommunicable diseases, neglected tropical diseases, Mozambique, Nepal, Peru

As low-income countries become increasingly urbanized in the globalized world, their disease patterns begin to resemble developed countries with the increased occurrence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Due to the weaknesses of national health systems in low and middle income countries, communicable diseases continue to co-exist with the newly emerging NCDs, leading to a double burden of disease. In addition to this, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) continue to negatively affect the poorest populations of developing countries, who often also belong to ethnic minorities or otherwise marginalized groups, and live in geographically remote areas. At the individual level, this leads to vulnerability to a greater range of diseases. There have been calls for more systematic and integrated responses to the unmet needs of developing country health systems, while challenges remain. Many of the developing country health systems are tailored for acute care of severe cases, instead of long-term disease prevention and care. Furthermore, the role of women and girls as primary caregivers for the ill, in addition to the inequities in access to health services, calls for contextualized solutions.

This unique research project benefits from the expertise of four countries (Mozambique, Nepal, Peru and Switzerland), enhancing both North-South and South-South cooperation.

The research is built on the following objectives:

  • COHESION objective 1: Assess the barriers, enablers and lessons for the management of NCDs and NTDs from the policy, health system and community levels to support a PHC response for NCDs and NTDs
  • COHESION objective 2: Develop and test a package of scalable, sustainable, gender and context appropriate interventions at policy, health system and community levels to support PHC responses to NCDs and NTDs
  • COHESION objective 3: Develop a plan for scaling up interventions based on the proof of principles resulting from the evaluation of the impact of the interventions and the implementation of this project
  • COHESION objective 4: Enable change in delivery of services for NCDs and NTDs at PHC through engaging policy makers, health professionals and communities throughout the project.

Find more information on the project website.

Strengthening health systems in developing nations