NCD Case Studies: “Best buys” for combating non-communicable disease

Posted on: August 9th, 2012 by Arogya World

By Elizabeth Nussbaumer. Elizabeth finishes her Master of Public Policy this fall and hopes to continue working in DC on issues related to nutrition, food, and agriculture.

Over the past year I had the opportunity to work as a Policy and Advocacy Intern for Arogya World, and during that time I developed case studies on what works in the prevention of and fight against non-communicable diseases. Four case studies have been completed now, each with a different approach on what are the “best buys” for combating the global NCD pandemic.

Most recently I completed the fourth case study on New York City’s progressive approach to fighting NCDs and what other city leaders can do to improve the health of their citizens: The Critical Role of Leadership in Tackling NCDs: The New York City Formula. This involved working closely with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which provided important insight on their many great initiatives throughout New York City. I think it’s impressive when city leaders and country leaders step up and make a concerted effort to improve the well-being of their citizens. Also, the fact that it is very do-able makes it more accessible and seem like less of a challenge for other leaders to accomplish.

I learned something new from each of the case studies we developed:

When we took a look at cancer prevention in Thailand with the use of cervical cancer screening in rural areas (Protecting Women and Preserving the Family Core: Cervical Cancer Prevention in Thailand), it was exciting to hear that such a simple and cost-effective solution exists to fill the gaps in cervical cancer screening and markedly increase prevention.

In our study of the United Kingdom’s approach to salt reduction in foods and diets (An Unhealthy Relationship: NCDs and Salt The UK Initiative for Salt Reduction), I was rather shocked at how little salt we need in our daily diet and how serious of an impact too much salt (which can still be small in amount) can have on your health.

During our study of the mobilization of São Paulo and Brazil’s citizens to recognize the importance of physical activity in their daily lives (A Case Study on Agita São Paulo: Defeating NCDs through Physical Activity), I learned that 30 minutes of exercise five times (or more) per week was all you needed to get the preventive health effects of exercise that will help to prevent NCDs.

To support each case study the CEO and founder of Arogya World, Nalini Saligram, and I interviewed key experts relevant to each case in order to bring the best information to the public. This was a great opportunity that I really enjoyed; the experts we spoke with were very helpful and great to talk with. In preparing these case studies I had the help of Nalini Saligram, the Head of Social and Digital Media Thea Joselow, and Freelance Graphic Designer Sarah Nussbaumer.

I have learned a great deal from these case studies and believe that their recommendations for action can have a significant and lasting impact on NCD prevention. I hope that they inspire others to be leaders in their communities in the fight against NCDs. Check back to the Arogya World website in the future, as we plan to produce more case studies on what works in preventing and fighting NCDs.