Monitoring and surveillance

Strengthening the monitoring and surveillance of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is one of WHO’s key objectives, and an area for which countries often request technical support. The NCD surveillance hub in the WHO European Region is based at and coordinated from the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCD Office).

The work of WHO/Europe reflects and addresses policy-makers’ key concerns about improving the quality of their routine data, including morbidity data, disease registries, health-care management systems and policy statistics.

This data is necessary to determine:

  • NCD morbidity and premature mortality risk trends and patterns;
  • changes in social health inequalities related to NCDs;
  • the effectiveness of interventions for decreasing prevalence and increasing survival;
  • the effects of quality of care on early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation;
  • the efficiency of screening; and
  • other information for policy needs.

WHO’s work increases the availability of new NCD data through ad hoc surveys. These include surveys on single risk factors – such as the Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey and the Global Youth Tobacco Survey – as well as those on multiple risk factors – such as the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study and the increasingly valuable household-based WHO STEPwise approach to surveillance (STEPS) survey.

With WHO’s assistance, Member States are setting up reliable systems to monitor progress on developing and implementing policies on NCD prevention and control. This allows countries to chart their progress on meeting the targets and outcome indicators proposed in the WHO Global Monitoring Framework on NCDs, the European policy framework Health 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Getting the full picture of progress in combating NCDs also facilitates advocacy and policy development, highlights the importance of coordinated intersectoral action and helps to reinforce political commitment.