According to the World Health Organisation, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill millions of people every year, and nearly 80% of NCD deaths occur in low and middle income countries (this amounts to 29 million deaths!). Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) account for most NCD deaths; so naturally, preventing and control CVDs should be a priority, especially in low and middle income countries. There seems, however, to be a gap between the burdens of NCDs and the adopted strategies in these countries.
In a study that we just published in IJPH, Rula Ghandour** and colleagues aimed to explore the feasibility of using a multi-criteria decision analysis method with policy workers/ key stakeholders to prioritise CVD policies in four Mediterranean low middle income countries (Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey). This study belong to our Supplement called “The rising burden of noncommunicable diseases in four Mediterranean countries and potential solutions” .
This study piloted a simple multi-criteria decision analysis method: a mixed methods study was used to identify a preliminary list of policy options in each country. These policies were rated by different policy makers against predefined criteria, in order to generate a priority score for each policy and then rank the policies. Twenty-five policies were rated in these 4 countries to create a country specific list of CVD prevention and control policies.
Top policies were found to be population level interventions and health systems’ level policies. The authors conlcude that this multi-criteria decision analysis method appeared to be a pragmatic, rapid and participatory appraisal methodology for setting priorities, which could also be applied in other middle income countries.
** This paper was written by Rula Ghandour, Azza Shoaibi, Rana Khatib, Niveen Abu Rmeileh, Belgin Unal, Kaan Sözmen, Bülent Kılıç, Fouad Fouad, Radwan Al Ali, Habiba Ben Romdhane, Wafa Aissi, Balsam Ahmad, Simon Capewell, Julia Critchley and Abdullatif Husseini