New data initiative helps Morocco lift lid on country’s risk factors for noncommunicable diseases | World Health Organization

Signs for a doctor's and dentist's office in Morocco. Photo: Bryan Thomas on Flickr.

Signs for a doctor’s and dentist’s office in Morocco. Photo: Bryan Thomas on Flickr.

Worldwide, 65% of deaths go unrecorded and millions lack a documented cause. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Data for Health project seeks to “improve public health data so that governments, aid organizations, and public health leaders are equipped with the tools and systems to collect and use data to prioritize health challenges, develop policies, deploy resources, and measure success.”

This month, the World Health Organization (WHO)– a Data for Health partner– announced that starting in October it will dispatch 14 teams of 4 people to visit more than 6,000 households throughout the country, collecting information on tobacco and alcohol consumption, diet, weight and height, and other health factors. More from WHO:

Data for Health is helping WHO to conduct NCD (noncommunicable disease) household surveys, using the STEPwise approach to surveillance (STEPS) in Morocco and Zambia initially, and 4 additional countries to be selected in the coming months. The aim is to help authorities to establish baseline data and build strong information collection systems for all NCD-related health issues. Countries will also pilot a survey using mobile phones to test if this new methodology can supplement other household surveys of risk factors.

“This is an important moment for Morocco,” says Dr Hicham El Berri, head of the Moroccan Ministry of Health’s NCDs Division. “We lack NCDs data and STEPS is a tried and tested system. To have WHO and the Data for Health initiative help us establish a system to collect NCDs data from households will be very useful and important for NCDs prevention and control in Morocco.”

… Leanne Riley, head of the WHO’s NCD Surveillance team, which includes the STEPS project, says “Knowing more about the prevalence of these risk factors will help Morocco’s NCD control actions.” [FULL STORY]

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