Noncommunicable Disease Surveillance
Why invest in surveillance?
Surveillance is often defined as the systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of health data and the timely dissemination of this data to policymakers and others. Good quality health information is essential for planning and implementing health policy in all countries. Surveillance provides health information in a timely manner so that countries have the information that they need to fight epidemics now or plan for the future. It is a fundamental tool of public health.
WHO NCD Surveillance strategy
WHO is pursuing surveillance as part of a global strategy for preventing and controlling NCDs and the major risk factors that predict them. The WHO STEPwise approach to surveillance of NCD risk factors uses a standard survey instrument and a methodology that can be adapted to different country resource settings and help to build country capacity.
STEPS risk factors
The WHO STEPwise approach to Surveillance of NCD Risk Factors (STEPS) was developed by WHO as part of a global surveillance strategy in response to the growing need for country-level trends in noncommunicable diseases. By using the same standardized questions and protocols, all countries can use STEPS information not only for monitoring within-country trends, but also for making between-country comparisons. The approach encourages the collection of small amounts of useful data information on a regular and continuing basis. It focuses on a minimum number of risk factors that predict the major noncummunicable diseases. This information can, in turn, be used to plan for disease prevention through population-level risk factor reduction.
WHO Global NCD InfoBase
The NCD InfoBase collects all country-level data on important NCD risk factors for all WHO Member States. There are many different survey instruments available for collecting data on health behaviours and physical measurements of risk exposure. Each instrument has advantages and limitations. The NCD InfoBase acts as a repository for all survey information relevant to eight risk factors: tobacco use, high alcohol consumption and abstainers, fruit and vegetable intake, overweight and obesity, raised blood pressure, raised cholesterol, physical inactivity and diabetes.
The STEPS approach to stroke data collection is gaining momentum in low- and middle-income countries which realize the financial burden of disability from stroke in their ageing populations.
Surveillance of chronic, noncommunicable diseases is a key activity within the Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion.
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