• Introduction


    Non-Communicable Diseases: Focus on Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases

     

    Welcome to this course. Despite a focus on the control of communicable diseases in developing countries in the past, it is now apparent that non-communicable diseases have crept up on these populations and create a major threat. The module aims to help practitioners understand the size of this threat and its causes, and to develop policies to reduce the growing burden on developing country populations. We cannot cover all non-communicable diseases in this module, and have chosen to focus on CVD and Diabetes. We hope that the learning from this module will help students appreciate the evidence base required to plan interventions to reduce the threat from these conditions.

    Lets start by setting the scene with a few key resources:

    Facts from a WHO fact sheet:

    • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill 40 million people each year, equivalent to 70% of all deaths globally.
    • Each year, 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years; over 80% of these "premature" deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
    • Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.7 million people annually, followed by cancers (8.8 million), respiratory diseases (3.9million), and diabetes (1.6 million).
    • These 4 groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.
    • Tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets all increase the risk of dying from a NCD.
    • Detection, screening and treatment of NCDs, as well as palliative care, are key components of the response to NCDs.

    In his polemic Offline: NCDs—why are we failing? Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet and a strong advocate for global health states: "Many political leaders believe that NCDs are just too big and too complex a challenge. And so they are paralysed.....Access to medicines for NCDs should be a decisive matter of human rights...investing in the prevention and treatment of NCDs is good for economic growth." During this course we will be exploring some of the policy changes required to deal with this major threat to global health and development.

    The paper Cardiovascular disease in Africa: epidemiological profile and challenges states "From a global perspective, the large and diverse African population is disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease (CVD). The historical balance between communicable and noncommunicable pathways to CVD in different African regions is dependent on external factors over the life course and at a societal level. The future risk of noncommunicable forms of CVD (predominantly driven by increased rates of hypertension, smoking, and obesity) is a growing public health concern. The incidence of previously rare forms of CVD such as coronary artery disease will increase, in concert with historically prevalent forms of disease, such as rheumatic heart disease, that are yet to be optimally prevented or treated."

    For an in-depth exploration of NCDs and economics, take a look at The Lancet Taskforce on NCDs and economics. "The five Taskforce papers show that poverty drives and is driven by NCDs, but that financial protection from high medical costs can break this cycle; price policies and taxation are effective means to reduce NCD risk factors, such as tobacco and unhealthy diet, and can reduce inequalities; and that investment in NCD control results in increased economic growth."

    The figure below shows the changes in Disability Adjusted Life Years over time -redrawn from the 2015 Global Burden of Disease study by the NCD Alliance.

    Note: While this course focuses on cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, you might also like to explore other Peoples-uni Open Online Courses on Injury Prevention and Global Mental Health which you can also find on this site.

    Course Structures and Expectations:
    You will find a set of 5 topic areas moving from describing the size of the problem, developing an understanding of the causes, reviewing the evidence for interventions, and thinking about how to set up your own interventions to reduce the burden of illness from NCD. You will find links to a number of online resources in each of these topic areas. The basis of learning is to access these resources, and to reflect on them.

    How to navigate the course. Click on the blue Hyperlinks to access the various parts of the course. You will find links to a number of relevant readings in the sections marked Resources. You are also invited to reflect on the issues identified in the presentations (click on the Reflection links - you will then be able to see reflections of previous students and will receive email copies of those who post a reflection after you).

    You will find a quiz at the end of the course, and you can gain a certificate if you pass the quiz and access all of the resources.

     

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    This course module for Peoples-uni by Peoples-uni is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License

  • Non-Communicable Diseases Home Page



    Introduction

    Despite a focus on the control of communicable diseases in developing countries in the past, it is now apparent that non-communicable diseases have crept up on populations and created a major threat. This course aims to help practitioners understand the size of this threat and its causes, and develop policies to reduce the growing burden on developing countries' populations. We cannot cover all non-communicable diseases in this module and have chosen to focus on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Diabetes. We hope that the learning from this module will help students appreciate the evidence base required to plan interventions to reduce the threat from these conditions.


    The course is designed to help you: 

    1. Understand the size and causes of NCDs, and to develop policies to reduce the growing burden on developing countries’ populations (with a focus on CVD and Diabetes).
    2. Appreciate the evidence base required to plan interventions to reduce the threat from these conditions.


    This course is an Open Online Course (OOC) that has been adopted from Peoples-uni. It was further developed by NextGenU.org (NGU) and sponsored in part by the Annenberg Physician Training Program (APTP).


    There are five (5) modules to complete, which include:

    Module 1: Size of the Problem (Burden of Illness, Macroeconomics)
    Module 2: Causes (Risk Factors, including Individual, Population and Socio-cultural Determinants)
    Module 3: Appraising the Evidence that Underpins International Interventions and Prevention Programmes
    Module 4: How Can We Make Health Policies to Reduce the Burden of NCD?
    Module 5: Implementing Prevention Programmes (Plan Your Own)

    Approximate time for completion of this course is 6 hours at an average reading rate of 144 words/minute.


    Engaging with this course


    • To register for this course, complete the registration form. Begin the course with Module 1. For each lesson, read the description. 
    • Each lesson comprises introductory remarks. You can click on the collections of resources in each module. 
    • There is a forum on each module for reflection, and you will be able to add a new topic or respond to a previous one. You may want to share your learning from this and other readings, comment on the topics from your own experience, comment on others' posts, or provide feedback on how we can improve the content and/or presentation.
    • There is a final quiz to assess your understanding of some important concepts. Click on the hyperlinks to take you to these items in each topic.


    Requirements to obtain the certificate 

    You may browse this course for free to learn for your personal enrichment. There are no requirements.


    To obtain a certificate, a learner must successfully complete:

    • All reading requirements
    • All quizzes, passing with 70%, having unlimited attempts (consider that some courses do not have quizzes)
    • All discussion forums
    • The final exam with a minimum of 70% and a maximum of 3 attempts and
    • The self and course evaluation forms

  • Module 1: Size of the Problem (Burden of Illness, Macroeconomics)


    By the end of this Module, you should be able to understand the burden of disease from diabetes and cardiovascular disease from a public health perspective.

    See this short video from WHO: Global Noncommunicable Disease Network, as an introduction:

    1 Page, 1 Forum
  • Module 2: Causes (Risk Factors, including Individual, Population and Socio-cultural Determinants)


    By the end of this Module, you should have an understanding of the contribution of major risk factors, including socio-cultural factors, to the causes of diabetes and CVD.

    This graphic Determinants and Chronic Conditions of NCDs (modified from Dans et al., 2011 by Medicus Mundi Switzerland) from Health Promotion and Health Literacy: Toward transformative action for non-communicable diseases is a nice summary of what you will find in the resources section below:

    753

    1 Page, 1 Forum
  • Module 3: Appraising the Evidence that Underpins International Interventions and Prevention Programmes


    By the end of this Module, you should be able to assess the evidence that underpins international initiatives in the prevention and provision of care for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases including primary and secondary prevention programmes and between population-based and individual-based interventions.

    1 Page, 1 Forum
  • Module 4: How Can We Make Health Policies to Reduce the Burden of NCD?


    By the end of this Module, you should be able to discuss how diabetes and CVD might be incorporated in a policy agenda relevant to developing countries.                                         

    1 Page, 1 Forum
  • Module 5: Implementing Prevention Programmes (Plan Your Own)


    By the end of this Module you should be able to consider the implementation of a strategy to implement a successful intervention programme to reduce the burden of illness for CVD or diabetes in your own setting.

    1 Page, 1 Forum
  • Final Exam

  • Course and Self Evaluation & Certificate

    In this section, you can provide feedback about this course to help us make NextGenU.org better. Once evaluations are completed, you will be able to download your Certificate of Completion.
    Click here to give your feedback.