Flagship Course on Health System Strengthening: focus on noncommunicable diseases


Participants in the Flagship Course

The annual Course was held in Barcelona, Spain between 25 September and 3 October 2012. It focused on assessing health systems’ performance, diagnosing barriers to their achieving better noncommunicable disease (NCD) outcomes, improving service delivery to scale up key interventions for primary prevention and disease management, and reviewing health financing instruments and financial incentives to support better NCD outcomes.

The Course brought together over 50 health professionals from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Spain, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. These senior officials and health-sector stakeholders discussed challenges in tackling the growing burden of NCDs beyond the health sector, such as political pressures in setting agendas, cultural issues and economic challenges. Presentations from experts and participating countries were mixed with facilitated debate, which ensured the sharing of practical experience and good practices.

In addition, the participants visited a range of health facilities to get first-hand experience of good practices in NCD prevention and management. The Department of Health of Catalonia, Spain arranged the visits, which included a visit to a primary care facility with a hands-on presentation of the Catalan model for chronic disease management and the Catalan Institute of Oncology’s approach to palliative care.

WHO/Europe provided and coordinated the Course through its Barcelona Office for Health Systems Strengthening, and with the World Bank Institute and the Health Policy Analysis Centre of Kyrgyzstan.