Intended for healthcare professionals

Addressing the growing NCDs burden among women and children

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cause 74% of all deaths worldwide each year, with 77% of these deaths occurring in low and middle income countries (LMICs). A major concern is the burden on women and children. NCDs are responsible for 19 million annual deaths in women and many NCDs have their origins in childhood. Addressing the interaction between maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) and the increasing burden of NCDs requires the implementation of integrated preventative strategies and models of care across the life course and different levels of care. However, there are persistent challenges to effectively integrating care for MNCH and NCDs, including, for example, insufficient health system capacity and infrastructure to support its implementation. Significant research gaps also exist in understanding what facilitates or hinders the integration of care needed to address the growing NCDs burden among women and children.

In collaboration with the World Health Organization Global NCD Platform, this collection examines the benefits of integrated care for NCDs and MNCH outcomes and service delivery. The collection explores themes from health workforce education to implementation research to highlight opportunities to strengthen integrated NCD and MNCH care models in LMICs. The overarching premise of the collection is that overcoming the barriers to the effective implementation and scale-up of integrated care is worth the challenge if we are to achieve universal health coverage and meet the NCD and MNCH targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Integrating care across non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health
Important for universal health coverage and sustainable development goals

Analysis and Research

Building an interdisciplinary workforce for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases: the role of e-learning
Svetlana Akselrod and colleagues argue that interdisciplinary education for health workers, including through e-learning programmes, can help improve the quality of integrated care for non-communicable diseases

The promise of digital health technologies for integrated care for maternal and child health and non-communicable diseases
Téa Collins and colleagues argue that evidence based digital health can improve access to and the quality of integrated care, especially in low and middle income countries

Integrating perinatal mental healthcare into maternal and perinatal services in low and middle income countries
Gergana Manolova and colleagues argue for a comprehensive approach to the challenge of treating perinatal mental health conditions in maternal, neonatal, and child health services

Missing data and other challenges in assessing inappropriate marketing of baby foods in the Russian Federation
Kontsevaya and colleagues conclude that baby foods need stronger regulation to minimise higher risk of NCDs in later life

Integrating non-communicable disease prevention and control into maternal and child health programmes
Suzanne Simkovich and colleagues argue for implementation research to meet the needs of end users and use of open source data to strengthen preventive strategies for non-communicable diseases in women of reproductive age

This collection was proposed by the World Health Organization, who also provided funding for the collection, including open access fees. The BMJ peer reviewed, edited, and made the decision to publish these articles. Jess Kimpton, Rachael Hinton and Paul Simpson were the lead editors for The BMJ.

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