Better noncommunicable disease outcomes: challenges and opportunities for health systems. Hungary Country Assessment: Focus on diabetes (2014)
This report reviews health system challenges and opportunities in Hungary to scale up core services for the prevention, early diagnosis and management of diabetes. Diabetes is used in the report as a lens to assess the effectiveness of the health system in addressing the NCD burden. Although NCD mortality in general has been decreasing over the past twenty years, the prevalence of diabetes remains high and is growing. The report found good progress implementing innovative intersectorial nutrition policies including the Public Health Product Tax. At the same time, core individual services such as early detection and proactive management of diabetes and its complications require further efforts. The main barrier to better diabetes and NCD control in Hungary was found to be the lack of citizen empowerment; the population generally has a low level of health literacy and lacks the knowledge and skills to manage their own health. Other problems identified include a mismatch between the incentive system and the requirements for effective diabetes management, with current measures focusing on processes rather than outcomes. These challenges need to be addressed within a context of a shortage of human resources and a lack of standardized training in diabetes adapted to different cadres of health personnel. The report ends with six strategic recommendations to address these challenges.