Tailored Support for National NCD Policy and Programme Implementation: An Over-looked Priority

Many low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) are unlikely to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 to reduce premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one-third by 2030. For some, the prospect is receding: between 2010 and 2020, the decline in premature deaths for the major NCDs slowed compared with the prior decade. Barriers to implementing effective strategies are well known, yet the value of tailored technical support to countries has been overlooked and downplayed. Tailored technical support is specialist guidance for country-specific application of technical tools, and capacity enhancement when needed, that enables an LMIC to advance its NCD priorities and plans. We present a model identifying pivotal junctures where tailored technical support can help surmount implementation obstacles. We draw on our experience preparing NCD investment cases with health ministries, development partners and technical agencies. National investment cases produce evidence based, locally tailored and costed packages of NCD interventions and policies appropriate to national needs and circumstances. They can include analysis of financing needs and point towards sustainable funding mechanisms. Enhancing the NCD-specific knowledge of government and Civil Society Organization leads can capitalise on existing expertise, aid integrative health system developments and unlock capabilities to use global tools and guidance. Investment cases form a platform to develop or review NCD plans and (re)prioritise action, then apply implementation science to trouble-shoot obstacles. Partnering national stakeholders with technical support in this process is critical to develop and implement effective NCD strategies.