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International cooperation in the area of Noncommunicable Diseases

The Robert Koch-Institute’s Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring is primarily concerned with non­communi­cable diseases (NCD) and their determinants.

The WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communi­cable Diseases 2013-2020 is the guiding frame­work for the main activities of the department in the fields of physical health, mental health, health behaviour as well as social determ­inants of health.

In 2017, the department launched the Journal of Health Monitoring, published in German and English, which focuses on public health sur­veillance and NCD in particular. NCD continue to be the leading causes of death globally. Cancer, diabetes, cardio­vascular and respiratory diseases account for over 80 % of NCD mortality. Risk factors, such as tobacco, physical inactivity, harm­ful use of alcohol and un­healthy diet, are often avoidable. NCD prevention has to target individuals, settings and trans­national (health) policies which requires popu­lation-based monitoring and the analyses of valid health data.

European cooperation

The Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring has long been an active member in European net­works. Based on its expertise in health monitoring at national level, it has made substantial contri­butions to the development and im­ple­mentation of the European Core Health Indicators (ECHI) and of the now com­pulsory Euro­pean Health Inter­view Survey (EHIS). It is currently a partner in the Euro­pean Joint Action on Health Information (InfAct) which aims at estab­lishing a sustain­able Euro­pean health infor­mation infra­structure, focusing on NCD and their determinants. The department is also a member of the European Health Infor­mation Initiative (EHII) of WHO/Europe, and is represented in working groups of the OECD, e.g. on health care quality and of the EU, e.g. in the Working Group on Public Health Statistics.

Expanding global cooperation

Low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) in particular bear a double burden of infectious and non­communicable diseases. Each year, more than 15 million people between the age of 30 and 69 die prematurely of NCD. More than 80 % of these deaths occur in LMIC. Taking an active part in the increasing inter­national­ization of the Robert Koch-Institute, the Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring aspires to establish inter­national cooperation in the area of health monitoring to combat the global NCD epidemic.

Date: 16.10.2017