Objectives and expected outcome

Karin Eppendahl

The meeting will provide policy-makers with a platform to share country experiences of strengthening health systems for better NCD outcomes, celebrate and understand successes, and inspire action for accelerating health systems transformation to reduce premature NCD mortality.


The meeting will be organized around 4 specific objectives:

  • to discuss policy directions and country experiences for a comprehensive and aligned health systems response to NCDs;
  • to highlight the equity and gender dimensions of health systems transformation for better NCD outcomes, including those left behind by traditional, mainstream approaches;
  • to explore the possibility of accelerating health systems transformation for faster reductions in premature NCD mortality; and
  • to tease out factors that have enabled successful, large-scale health system transformations.

Expected outcome

The conclusions of the meeting will be captured in an outcome document that will feed into the United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2018, and will be presented at the 68th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe.


The enormous burden of NCDs, particularly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, challenges health systems in all countries of the Region. The prevention and treatment of NCDs are central to Health 2020, underlie the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and connect strongly with the universal health coverage agenda.

However, mobilizing a comprehensive health systems response to reducing premature NCD mortality is a complex task. Over the past 5 years, WHO/Europe has worked with European Member States and a network of experts to address this. The work programme, which has consisted of contextualized country work and consensus-based team processes, has had the following main outputs:

  • multidisciplinary country support and assessments in over a dozen countries;
  • a series of good practices to highlight effective instruments;
  • capacity-building in the form of an annual training programme that has reached over 300 people; and
  • various platforms for regional exchange and experience-sharing.

To synthesize this country work and envision a way forward, WHO/Europe, together with selected Member States and a network of experts, has articulated an evidence-informed vision of a coherent health systems response to NCDs. This vision is captured in a regional report delivering pragmatic and actionable guidance that will be launched at the high-level meeting.