“In theory, primary care is well positioned to take on the challenge of NCDs. As the access point to the health system for people at risk and suffering from NCDs, it is the best platform for screening, diagnosis, and the management and coordination of care. Further, numerous NCD interventions can be delivered by generalist providers and require minimal technology that can be managed at the primary care level.”
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have become the major contributors to death and disability worldwide. Nearly 80% of the deaths in 2010 occurred in low- and middle-income countries, which have experienced rapid population aging, urbanization, rise in smoking, and changes in diet and activity. Yet the health systems of low- and middle-income countries, historically oriented to infectious disease and often severely underfunded, are poorly prepared for the challenge of caring for people with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease. We have discussed how primary care can be redesigned to tackle the challenge of NCDs in resource constrained countries. We suggest that four changes will be required: integration of services, innovative service delivery, a focus on patients and communities, and adoption of new technologies for communication.