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Multi-sectoral Action for Non-communicable Disease Prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is undergoing a transition related to disease epidemics. The region now faces a "double burden" of disease. Infectious diseases remain the primary cause of death, but there is clear evidence that the prevalence rates of the main non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their common risk factors are rising rapidly. NCDs are an important cause of premature mortality and morbidity under the age of 60 in sub-Saharan Africa. This is especially true among the poor, given their lack of access to proper care and medicine. Often, communicable diseases and NCDs co-exist in the same individual; one can increase the risk or impact of the other. Current projections indicate that by 2020, the largest increase in NCD deaths will occur in Africa. In September 2011, all United Nations member states signed the Political Declaration of the High Level Meeting on Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. This declaration recognizes that NCDs are an important development issue that must be addressed through multi-sectoral action since many NCD determinants lie outside the health sector's influence. Multi-sectoral action refers to work involving different government departments using a whole-of-government approach, in collaboration with civil society organizations and the private sector, when relevant and appropriate. However, there is little evidence on the success of multi-sectoral action in low- and middle-income countries. This project aims to generate evidence and to gain a deeper understanding of the main factors influencing multi-sectoral action for NCD prevention in sub-Saharan Africa. Researchers will conduct a comparative case study involving five countries. In each country, a research team will generate robust evidence on the extent to which, and how, multi-sectoral action is used to formulate policies designed to implement the World Health Organization's "Best Buys" - its recommended, most cost-effective interventions and policies. Researchers will study different contexts, with an emphasis on population-based interventions. During the four-year project, the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) will offer research fellowships to five African scientists to conduct the case studies. They will receive training in policy analysis and case study methodology. The research team will engage with policymakers in each of the case-study countries to ensure uptake of the evidence generated. APHRC will also convene a forum of multi-sectoral experts to generate actionable recommendations for NCD prevention in the region. This project is expected to build research capacity and to establish a group of researchers to monitor and assess the long-term effectiveness and impact of multi-sectoral approaches

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
48 months
IDRC Officer
Natacha Lecours
Total Funding
CA$ 1,846,867.00
South of Sahara
Food, Environment, and Health
Food, Environment, and Health
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Catherine Kyobutungi
African Population and Health Research Centre



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