Structured efforts by national governments
While the figures given above, are staggering, the silver lining is that even at a population levels, concerted efforts by national governments, in close alignment with the society possibly yield better results. Let’s look at some of the initiatives promoted by progressive national governments around the world.
In Germany, the introduction of Disease Management Programs has been viewed as one of the most important developments with regard to the care of patients with chronic health problems in the German health care system. Germany’s Disease Management Programs for diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease are among the biggest worldwide, and involve the coordinated treatment and care across different providers and on the basis of scientific and up-to-date evidence.
The overarching aim of these programs are to improve the quality of care for people with chronic disease, in particular the prevention of long-term consequences and complications, and to ultimately reduce the costs of care. The main strategies of programs include elements of supporting self-management, design of delivery system, decision support and clinical information systems.
Currently Germany has disease management programs covering conditions including Type 1 and 2 Diabetes, Bronchial Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Coronary Heart Disease, Chronic Heart Failure and Breast Cancer.
Reports on these programs indicate success stories including that patients in Disease Management Programs for Type 2 Diabetes had a significantly lower overall mortality, higher health-related quality of life and higher treatment satisfaction as compared to patients in the routine care group. Patient satisfaction with treatment has risen markedly, and the overall cost of care has decreased by 13 percent.
Studies indicated that the Type 2 Diabetes patients who were enrolled in a Disease Management Program were more likely to receive patient-centered, structured, and collaborative care according to the Chronic Care Model and had closer alignments with evidence-based counseling when compared with the usual care that they otherwise received.
United Arab Emirates.
Ambitious and futuristic efforts in the UAE, has seen the country develop a clear roadmap for the prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases. These include a slew of measures such as the development of a national plan, the creation of committees across sectors, public health and fitness programs, disincentives including higher tax levels on sugared soft drinks and tobacco products, along with active efforts to combat prevalence of obesity among children. Active involvement of the society along with high profile programs and campaigns, has in a manner energized the society to focus on health and fitness activities.
Media reports on the preliminary findings of a National Health Survey, indicated that the prevalence of diabetes in the UAE, which was more than 19% of the population in 2013, has dropped to 11.8% in 2017.
Global organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have frequently called for all countries to take active measures to counter non-communicable diseases. While progressive national governments apply many recommendations such as taxes on sugary drinks with all due enthusiasm and diligence, these is room for improvement across many countries around the globe.
While it is still too early to tell whether there has been progress in the fight against the disease, the initial pictures have been positive. Healthier lifestyles and preventive programs, promoted by National Governments and supported by the society can only help in the fight against Diabetes and other non-communicable, lifestyle induced diseases. Given the positive direction and the favorable impact on the society, wouldn’t you say that these are efforts worthwhile lauding and emulating in all countries across the globe?