Sustainability in chronic disease prevention: lessons from the Salud al Paso program in Ecuador*

Sacoto et al.

This study analyzes the conditions and possibilities of sustainability of the Salud al Paso program of the Metropolitan Health Secretariat of the Municipality of Quito, Ecuador, as an example for similar initiatives, in the context of the changes made by the new administration in May 2019. The analysis of the implementation of this initiative, focused on the prevention of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), was based on the program’s user database, the information gathered on the perspectives of operational staff, knowledge of the program, and the opinion of local leaders and opinion leaders of the Quito Metropolitan District, as well as official information. Based on this data, the study identified factors that could have facilitated or hindered its sustainability and documented the rationale to suspend the on-demand activities included in the program and limit activities to the care of populations under municipal responsibility (day-care centers, schools and colleges, markets, elder care programs, and employees) and patients with identified cardiometabolic risk. The insufficient institutionalization of the program, conceived as a project with an insufficient vision of its sustainability in time, was mentioned as a possible obstacle by leaders and operational staff. The growing prevalence of NCDs requires initiatives for their prevention, which must be institutionalized to ensure their continuity and overcome eventual
changes of government. In addition, future interventions similar to Salud al Paso should establish better sectoral coordination articulation, especially with the Ministry of Public Health and other service networks.

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