Launch of the Compendium report on multisectoral actions for the prevention and control of NCDs and mental health conditions

Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) and mental health conditions continue to pose one of today’s most critical public health and equity challenges. As their risk factors and determinants span far beyond the traditional health sector, a multisectoral, coherent, and well-coordinated response is critical. The World Health Organizations’ (WHO) Compendium report on multisectoral actions documents key lessons in advancing whole-of-government approaches to tackling NCD and mental health challenges across 17 country case studies.

Addressing the global health and equity challenges of NCDs and mental health conditions extends beyond the healthcare sector. At government and health system levels, authorities and health professionals need to work closely with their counterparts in social, education, environmental, financial, or political affairs, and beyond. Yet, implementing an effective whole-of-government approach to prevent and control NCDs is challenging. Many countries struggle to ensure policy coherence and maintain collaboration across government sectors.

WHO’s new compendium report on multisectoral actions offers key insights and lessons in how countries can leverage multisectoral collaboration and achieve better health outcomes to address NCDs. In 17 country case studies from all six WHO regions and covering a wide array of NCD and mental health challenges, the report analyses key enablers and major barriers along four strategic pillars of multisectoral action: governance and accountability, leadership at all levels, the practical aspects of collaborating, and resources and capabilities.

Key lessons include the importance of formalizing coordination mechanisms to embed multisectoral action into policies, practices, structures, and budgets that span government sectors. Often, multisectoral collaboration also sparks new partnerships and joint initiatives, expanding a programme’s reach to include non-State actors, academia, or people with lived experience.

Several multisectoral country case studies demonstrate a positive impact on policies and programmes, which was strongly supported by continuous leadership from national to municipal level. Building a wider understanding and increased awareness of NCDs, their risk factors and their determinants is another key success factor, which can be supported by building country capacities on specific health challenges and in negotiation or communication skills. In turn, multisectoral initiatives also worked to enhance strategic knowledge collaboration and data sharing for effective evidence-informed policies and programmes and helped maintain accountability and transparency towards communities and partners.

The WHO Compendium report on multisectoral action was developed in response to a WHO Member States request the Director-General in 2019 to provide a consolidated report to the World Health Assembly analysing approaches to multisectoral action for NCD prevention and control, including addressing social, economic and environmental determinants of health. The report complements a series of previous thematic publications on multisectoral action, including a global mapping report on multisectoral actions to strengthen the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases and mental health conditions and supporting country repository, and multiple country stories.