Noncommunicable disease strategy
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Noncommunicable disease strategy


In Malta 82% of all deaths are due to NCDs (National Mortality Register 2009) as compared to 87% of all deaths in the EURO-A region, which includes most of Western Europe. This latter figure was estimated by the Global Burden of Disease project.
Noncommunicable diseases are also the cause of a considerable degree of morbidity. An example of the scale of morbidity brought about by NCDs is the following figures of Disbility Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). It is estimated that in Malta 9 DALYs per 1000 population are lost due to cardiovascular disease, as compared to 10.4 DALYs per 1000 population around the Mediterranean basin.

NCD prevention and control is currently focused on targeting specific risk factors and social and environmental determinants through information provided by health promotion initiatives and primary health care services.
The overall goal of the NCD strategy is to develop an integrated inter-sectoral approach to NCD prevention and control. This is done by tackling common risk factors and by targeting actions both at population level and at high-risk groups. In order to reduce NCDs, the social environment needs to be one which is supportive of healthy choices. 
The strategy aims to:
  • Reduce the burden of NCD by targeting the following major chronic diseases:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lung disease resulting from smoking)
    • Mental ill-health
    • Cancer (addressed in the National Cancer Plan)

  • Reduce the burden of oral diseases (diseases of the mouth)

  • Improve the individual risks for NCD by focusing on:
    • Four lifestyle-related factors – diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol
    • Four biological risk factors – obesity, high blood pressure, excess cholesterol and other type of fat in blood, abnormalities of carbohydrate metabolism

The above aims must be related to an improved socio-economic environment by focusing on the reduction of three major social determinants of NCD. This can be brought about by collaboration between different sectors including among others the health, education, social, agricultural and economic sectors. 

These three major social determinants are:

  • Poverty
  • Unequal access to educational opportunities
  • Unemployment and low pay employment

In order to improve these social determinants, the following implementation strategies will be applied:

  • Surveillance
  • Policy Development
  • Capacity Building
  • Dissemination of Information based also on experience

The above processes will enable the formulation and application of clear strategic approaches to ensure effective Health Promotion actions by:

  • Individual risk reduction aiming at high-risk individuals
  • Population risk reduction aimed at preventable risk factors in society
  • Appropriate and efficient use of health services
  • An integrated referral system
  • A robust health information system