Providing technical assistance in Southeast Asian countries to tackle the burden of non-communicable diseases.
Firm: PwC South East Asia Consulting
Industry: Government and public sector, Healthcare
Non-communicable diseases (NCD), such as heart disease, diabetes and mental health conditions, are a major cause of ill health and death worldwide. This group of conditions kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71 per cent of all deaths globally, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
More than three-quarters of these deaths occur in low to middle income countries.
NCDs are a major health issue in South East Asia, with rates of NCDs approaching those of high-income countries. In 2019, 76 per cent of all deaths across South East Asia were attributed to NCDs, ranging from 69 per cent in the Philippines to 80 per cent in Vietnam.
The rise in NCD prevalence in middle-income countries is not just a population health issue but has significant economic and social impacts.
The UK Better Health Programme (BHP), established in 2019, is part of a global initiative. Its aim is to provide technical assistance in eight low-to-middle-income countries in their efforts to tackle the burden of NCDs, and in line with the global NCD-related targets for 2030 as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The countries originally involved were Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and, in South East Asia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
The work in South East Asia is managed by PwC, with agreed BHP activities coordinated and led by an in-country partner, including FHI360 and RTI.
Strategies to counter NCDs
Health provider performance improvement
Digital health initiatives
Life sciences initiatives
Health education and training
Each country developed a unique set of activities based on priorities agreed with partner governments, following a comprehensive scoping study. These ranged from focusing on reducing NCD risk factors (Malaysia, Thailand), strengthening health systems (Thailand, Vietnam), providing education and training (Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand) and creating digital health solutions (Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam).
41m people each year die worldwide from NCDs.
76% of all deaths in SE Asia are due to NCDs.
The UN wants to reduce global NCD deaths by 1/3 by 2030.
As part of the programme’s primary goal of tackling NCDs, each country’s team adopted bespoke approaches to the issues and context. However, the programme has also highlighted a number of emerging, common themes that go beyond specific in-country work. These may provide useful pointers for others working to tackle a health issue, whether it is an NCD or other health condition. To hear more about these themes, please follow the video links below.
Each country programme faced significant challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, which emerged in South East Asia in January 2020 just as Better Health Programme (BHP) activities were commencing. As lockdowns were introduced, teams had to find adaptive solutions, including developing previously untested digital approaches to health education.
"We’ve adopted a holistic method. We were determined that our community-based approach is supported by evidence to show that our approach can work."
“I think it’s so important that – whether we work in health, local government or national policy-making – we avoid working in silos. The NCD portal means we have an easy way of communicating with each other, a factor that has underpinned the Better Health Programme’s work in the Philippines.”
“Our work has been important because it shows how to benchmark quality of care and patient safety improvement measures, from our incidence data in Thailand, against global standards.”
"To support Vietnam in making a significant leap forward on treating non-communicable diseases, we had to first quantify the scale of the problem. By addressing the issue of electronic health data connectivity, quality of care for patients will be improved and policymakers will have more reliable data to help them clarify their priorities."
Government and Public Sector Leader, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore
+65 9753 6736
Director, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore
+65 9750 3775