A Neglected Problem in Global Health: The Uganda Initiative for Integrated Management of Non-Communicable Diseases

Ruiyi Gao | ruiyi.gao@yale.edu March 5, 2015

When people think of global health crises, they often think of developing countries ravaged by communicable diseases. Non-communicable diseases (NCD), on the other hand, are easily overlooked by the global health community. The Uganda Initiative for Integrated Management of Non-Communicable Diseases (UINCD) seeks to change this dangerous trend.

The UINCD is a collaborative effort on the part of multiple institutions: the Mulago Hospital, Makerere College of Health Sciences, the Uganda Ministry of Health, MEPI-CVD, the Uganda NCD Alliance, and the Yale University Global Health Leadership Initiative. The group addresses the source causes of non-communicable disease epidemics in an attempt to create a sustainable system of public health in Uganda.

NCDs cannot be stopped by a vaccine or a quarantine ward. They can only be mitigated by an effective system of health and research that brings together all aspects of healthcare. The main goal of the UINCD is to increase availability of public health services by training health workers and integrating multiple public health sectors. Community building, professional development, and public engagement are all important tenets of the UINCD platform.

By ignoring NCDs, countries risk developing a “double burden” of disease — the compound effect of NCDs and communicable diseases. This “double burden” drastically decreases the overall health of a nation.

The UINCD is currently working on maintaining the partnership between diverse health groups and creating an integrative approach to medicine. With a stable and capable network of health initiatives set in motion, the increased availability and capability of medical centers can help prevent NCDs and provide consistent care for patients with NCDs in Uganda. If the program succeeds, it may serve as a model for future NCD treatment plans in other countries. In this way, the UINCD could revolutionize global health as we know it.