What is the Policy Observatory?

The observatory is a platform for the network of American countries and institutions engaged in the systematic analysis and monitoring of Non Communicable disease (NCDs) policies. It is a joint initiative between PAHO and the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center on Non Communicable Disease (NCD) Policy, located within the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to provide a knowledge base and analytical support to policy-makers, to serve as a bridge between evidence and policy makers’ needs and to develop tools and practical recommendations for policy-makers in the region.

Why was the Policy Observatory established?

Recent projections of the global burden of disease have documented that, by the year 2020, Non Communicable Diseases will be the dominant cause of ill-health in developed and in developing countries alike. In the Americas, Non Communicable Diseases are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the total number of deaths and are responsible for the major causes of morbidity. In light of this, the Policy observatory was established to meet the common NCD policy challenges across the Americas. However, there is currently little evidentiary support on the effectiveness of specific policies or relevant information that would significantly assist policy makers and agencies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus, it was necessary for the region to develop expertise in systematic exercises of analysis and evaluation of policies related to the prevention of NCDs such as:

    • • Legislation, regulations, standard-setting etc.
    • • Financial measures
    • • Provision of programs and services
    • • Information and education
    • • International conventions

Policy Observatory Concept Proposal (to International Affairs Directorate)

Why a Policy Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean?

  • • Common NCD Policy Challenges across the region.
  • • Scarce evidence on the actual effectiveness of NCD policies (Ideology-rich but Knowledge-poor).
  • • Available information lacks relevance for policy-makers and agencies.

What are the goals of the Policy Observatory?

The NCD Policy Observatory aims to provide the capacity to support evidence-based health policy development with an emphasis on science-based decision-making. The specific objectives of the Policy Observatory are:

  • • To support the development of effective integrated NCD prevention policies through the systematic analysis of the processes involved in formulation, approval and implementation of such policies;
  • • To strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration in the adoption of complementary policies that maximize NCD prevention;
  • • To place NCD prevention higher on the agenda of policy makers
  • • To bring NCD prevention to the forefront of the discussion on social and economic policy development
  • • To facilitate and support national NCD policy
  • • To open up opportunities for training, research and monitoring and serve as a dissemination point for best practices in policy by focusing on legislation, regulation, public policies and international health policy.

What is PAHO’s Role?

  • • PAHO coordinates the CARMEN Network and works with its Member States in addressing public health issues.
  • • PAHO contributes with its technical expertise, and links its wide range of collaborators in the field to the efforts of the NCD Policy Observatory.

What is the role of the WHO Collaborating Centre on NCD Policy (Canada)?

At the CARMEN network meeting in Brazil in late 2003, PAHO Member States belonging to CARMEN requested that Canada, through its WHO Collaborating Center at the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Health Canada, in partnership with PAHO play a lead role in establishing an NCD Policy Observatory in the Americas. This Collaborating Centre has focused on the design and analysis of comparative studies of policy development processes related to chronic disease prevention in the Americas.

Who are the collaborators on the NCD Policy Observatory project?

The NCD Policy Observatory Project will engage many national and international partners. On the national front these would include multiple ministerial sectors such as health, economic planning, agriculture, social welfare, education, sports and recreation. Other partners will be non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions and professional associations working in the area of NCD policy development and implementation. International multilateral and bilateral donor agencies, as well as governments committed to supporting global efforts in integrating health and economic development will also collaborate.

What is the role of the International Advisory Committee?

The role of the International Advisory Committee is to provide expert advice to the Pan American Health Organization on the strategic direction, development, and on global policy implications of the CARMEN NCD Policy Observatory. This committee comprises key experts in diverse fields of international public health, global health policies, research and international finance from various organizations. The committee will be expected to critically review the goals, methodology and framework of the policy observatory and make recommendations on the strategic direction, development process, evaluation, sustainability, on-going funding and the expansion of the observatory within a global context.

Who is the target audience of the Observatory?

  • • Government political leaders (All levels)
  • • Government bureaucrats (All levels)
  • • Members of public health organisations
  • • Members of professional bodies
  • • Members of self-help and consumer- advocacy groups

Policy Observatory Case Studies

Policy Observatory Meetings

These are annual meetings established by the Policy Observatory initiative.
Please see ‘CARMEN Network Meetings’ for a log of past meetings.

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