NCD Alliance

New guide supports civil society in advocating for WHO Best Buys for NCD prevention

28th March 2023

The NCD Alliance is pleased to announce the launch of its latest resource, A civil society guide to advance NCD prevention policies: Unpacking WHO’s Best Buys and other recommended interventions. This publication gives a 360-degree view to global health frameworks and NCD prevention policies for addressing different NCD risk factors, and aims to support civil society actors in their national and regional advocacy by providing a better understanding of proven tools and recommendations. . Advocates can use this knowledge to make the case with their national policymakers to apply prevention strategies to benefit their countries population health and economy.

More specifically, the publication focuses on the WHO Best Buys for NCD prevention, highlighting that an estimated 80% of NCDs are preventable by reducing exposure to the major risk factors associated with NCDs. The Best Buys for NCD prevention are cost-effective, evidence-based and ready-to-use policy solutions that governments can use to control NCDs and prevent exposure to their main modifiable risk factors.

The guide breaks down the different proven prevention policies and packages by risk factor: tobacco use, alcohol use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and air pollution. It gives an overview of the disease burden and economic losses caused by each one, along with benefits to be gained by implementing the corresponding Best Buys.

Investing in the implementation of these policies is proven to generate great returns: every US$ 1 invested brings an average return of US$ 7. Investing US$ 1.27 per person per year in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) would prevent 8.2 million premature deaths and generate US$ 350 billion in economic growth in LMICs in just over a decade. If adequately implemented, the Best Buys for NCD prevention would be a game changer in the fight against NCDs.

Each section also features case studies about civil society groups that have advocated for the implementation of different prevention policies and packages in their countries, presenting valuable lessons learned and recommendations. For instance, after a 2019 advocacy campaign that resulted in the establishment of a new regulation on front-of-package warning labelling (FOPL) on foods and beverages, the Mexico Salud-Hable Coalition successfully advocated for policies to limit the level of trans fats in the food supply, focusing on the adoption of the WHO REPLACE technical package.

The publication calls on civil society to continue positioning NCD prevention and control at the highest political level, advocating for governments to adopt and invest in recommended NCD prevention and control Best Buys and interventions and ensure decision makers walk the talk by translating commitments into actions. Civil society must also continue its role in holding governments accountable for insufficient progress against their commitments and countering interference of the unhealthy commodity industry in policy making processes. We hope this resource proves useful to civil society actors in fulfilling these important roles.

This publication was made possible thanks to NCD Alliance’s partnership with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).