Public Health Reviews

, 35:11

Goals are Not Enough: Building Public Sector Capacity for Chronic Disease Prevention

  • Heather Manson
  • Terrence Sullivan
  • Phat Ha
  • Christine Navarro
  • José M. Martín-Moreno
Open Access

DOI: 10.1007/BF03391696

Cite this article as:
Manson, H., Sullivan, T., Ha, P. et al. Public Health Rev (2013) 35: 11. doi:10.1007/BF03391696


The rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) challenges the public health sector to develop, support and implement effective interventions to reduce this global epidemic. The United Nations has responded with a global action plan that includes goals and voluntary targets for the prevention and control of NCDs. However, setting goals is not enough. To achieve meaningful outcomes, governments must act and invest to improve key enabling capacities. Political and other public sector leadership at every jurisdictional level is needed to implement health-in-all-policies initiatives and to measure progress against set objectives, while technological and human resources for health should be developed with a focus on public health competencies. NCD surveillance and monitoring systems must be strengthened to ensure a rapid policy cycle, and public health research capacity should be built up, not only to assess the NCD challenge, but also to develop, adapt and apply new techniques and tools with the participation of decision-makers. Government and civil society partnerships are increasingly important, especially at the local level, to build multipliers, foster equity, and meet the needs of populations at risk. Given the magnitude of the NCD burden, prevention and management approaches require growth and alignment of innovative financial supports to reduce direct health expenditures and lost wages while increasing productivity. Lastly, making progress on NCDs requires a range of integrated, programmatic, health communications activities in addition to sound public policies that cross the health and non-health care sectors.

Key Words

Chronic disease capacity building public sector leadership 
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Copyright information

© BioMed Central London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Manson
    • 1
  • Terrence Sullivan
    • 2
  • Phat Ha
    • 3
  • Christine Navarro
    • 4
  • José M. Martín-Moreno
    • 5
  1. 1.Health PromotionChronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Public Health OntarioCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Health Policy Management and EvaluationUniversity of TorontoCanada
  3. 3.Public Health OntarioCanada
  4. 4.University of TorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of Preventive Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine, and INCLIVA Biomedical Research InstituteUniversity of ValenciaSpain

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