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Learning lessons from operational research in infectious diseases: can the same model be used for noncommunicable diseases in developing countries?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>4/12/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Advances in Medical Education and Practice
Issue number5
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)469-482
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


About three-quarters of global deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) occur in developing countries. Nearly a third of these deaths occur before the age of 60 years. These deaths are projected to increase, fueled by such factors as urbanization, nutrition transition, lifestyle changes, and aging. Despite this burden, there is a paucity of research on NCDs, due to the higher priority given to infectious disease research. Less than 10% of research on cardiovascular diseases comes from developing countries. This paper assesses what lessons from operational research on infectious diseases could be applied to NCDs. The lessons are drawn from the priority setting for research, integration of research into programs and routine service delivery, the use of routine data, rapid-assessment survey methods, modeling, chemoprophylaxis, and the translational process of findings into policy and practice. With the lines between infectious diseases and NCDs becoming blurred, it is justifiable to integrate the programs for the two disease groups wherever possible, eg, screening for diabetes in tuberculosis. Applying these lessons will require increased political will, research capacity, ownership, use of local expertise, and research funding.