Since 2016, the ACC’s Global Prevention Program has reached nearly 70,000 cardiologists and primary care providers with education to manage CVD risk and better treat patients experiencing disease through webinars and live events hosted in 10 countries around the world. With expertise and resources from our expanded partner consortium—including NCD Alliance, the World Heart Federation, and Pfizer Upjohn—the ACC is now leading a more ambitious charge to improve primary care globally:
- Goal #1: Leverage the prevalence of mobile devices to offer frontline health workers worldwide free education available whenever, wherever, on practical, evidence-based strategies for disease prevention.
- Goal #2: Equip providers with accessible education on the intersections between major NCDs that take the greatest toll on mortality and morbidity.
In recognition of the enormous strain that NCDs place on global mortality and, in turn, economic development, NCD reduction targets were adopted for the first time by UN member states as part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Though this has accelerated investment and innovation around the NCD crisis, a recent report from NCD Alliance, “Protecting Populations, Preserving Futures: Optimising the Health Workforce to Combat NCDs and Achieve UHC,” points to continued gaps in efforts to proliferate universal health coverage (UHC).
Inadequate human resources for healthcare is a key challenge. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global community will need to address a shortfall of an estimated 18 million health workers to achieve SDG targets. While improving the quantity of health care providers (HCPs) is critical long term, maximizing the quality and range of care that existing HCPs are empowered to offer is essential to achieving SDG targets within the desired timeframe. Specialists are scarce, and clinicians in general are too few and far between in many low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) to meet the needs of patients. Non-clinicians, including nurses and community health workers, must be better utilized to screen for NCDs and manage risk.
As an organization that lobbied for the inclusion of NCDs in the UN Agenda and has a long history of partnership with clinical societies globally, the ACC is fully committed to pursuing SDG targets and is continually reassessing how to direct our member expertise and core competencies toward gaps in the global health community’s NCD response.
- Recommendations for health systems strengthening: Of the five proposals that NCD Alliance outlines in their report to facilitate implementation of primary care systems worldwide, NCD Academy targets three:
- Enhance multi-sectoral collaboration to strengthen the health workforce.
- Leverage multidisciplinary care teams, with a robust role for community health workers to deliver primary healthcare for NCDs
- Leverage digital tools to enhance the capacity and reach of the health workforce
- NCD intersectionality: In addressing these recommendations, the ACC believes an integrated NCD approach is of upmost importance. It has long been known that NCDs originate from similar risk factors, and medical science continues to reveal insights on bidirectional causality and options for dual management.
Given the College’s experience in global health efforts around CVD reduction and our strong partnerships across the health care sector, the ACC is uniquely positioned and proud to be leading development of innovative solutions for quality and accessible clinician education on NCDs.