Prioritizing noncommunicable diseases in the Americas region in the era of COVID-19

Luciani et al.

This article describes the situation of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the Americas, implementation of NCD interventions according to key progress indicators, the impact of COVID-19 on NCD services, and ways to reprioritize NCDs following COVID-19. Information was retrieved from institutional data and through a supplementary
scoping review of published articles related to NCDs and COVID-19 in the Americas published April 2020–November 2021. While NCDs account for 80.7% of all deaths in the Americas, implementation of a key set of NCD interventions has been limited, with only three countries reporting implementation of 12 or more of the 19 NCD indicators. By mid-May 2022, the Americas had reported about 29.9% of all COVID-19 cases in the world (154 million of 515 million) and 43.5% all COVID-19 deaths (2.7 million of 6.2 million). This pandemic has hampered progress on NCDs and significantly disrupted services for people who require ongoing care. Adaptive strategies, such as telehealth and mobile pharmacies, have been used to mitigate service disruptions. However, NCD prevention and management must be an integral part of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. This will require scaled up efforts to establish/re-establish and enforce policies on NCD risk factors, especially for tobacco control and obesity prevention, as well as greater investment in primary care and expansion of telemedicine and digital health solutions for continuous care for people with NCDs. Lastly, limited data are available on the impact of COVID-19 on NCDs, and hence NCD data and surveillance need to be strengthened.

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