The Health Policy Partnership has led a ground-breaking policy report on heart failure in the Middle East and North Africa. The “Middle East and North Africa Heart Failure Roadmap” was co-authored with leading experts in the region, and launched on the 26th of November 2016 in Abu Dhabi. The report highlights the growing burden of heart failure and the increasing need to develop comprehensive and sustainable policy responses across the region.
In the MENA region, heart failure occurs 10 years younger than those in Europe or the US, yet patients have similar morality rates, speaking to significant deficits in prevention and care. Due to the high burden of cardiovascular and non-communicable disease risk factors and the rapidly growing and ageing population, heart failure will have significant consequences for the future sustainability of health systems in the region.
Thus the Roadmap is a timely initiative, gathering evidence throughout the region on key domains across health system leadership and care to support the development of sustainable policy and improved care for patients.
The launch event involved leading clinicians, nurses, patient representatives, insurers and governments. The delegates discussed key findings from the report, the national and regional policy challenges before agreeing a joint Call to Action on Heart Failure.
The Roadmap features a Call to Action on Heart Failure, co-signed by 13 leading experts from the region, which asks governments and health system leaders to take several key actions to improve care and treatments for heart failure patients. These are:
- To put HF ‘on the map’ in MENA region, raising awareness amongst decision makers, clinicians and public alike. Awareness of heart failure in the MENA region is very low and many individuals do not recognise heart failure symptoms until they are very acute, impacting future outcomes. Lack of awareness from policy makers is reflected in the lack of strategic leadership and oversight for heart failure services.
- To achieve better integration of primary care and in-hospital care. Access to quality care, management and support across the entire care pathway is very variable, and there is often limited communication between heart failure services in hospital and in the community.
- To improve measurement of health outcomes and collection of performance data. Lack of data is a significant issue in the region, even the numbers of people living with the condition are unknown or underestimated and the cost of HF is often unstudied. Without better data and understanding of outcomes and performance, planning high-quality services for heart failure patients will be extremely difficult.
The Roadmap also calls upon policy makers to establish comprehensive national cardiovascular disease and heart failure strategies, which should provide for:
- Investment in national data including costs and epidemiological data for heart failure.
- Governments leading public awareness campaigns on heart failure.
- Investment in heart failure disease management programmes and integrated care models, including the training of heart failure support roles.
The Health Policy Partnership was supported by Novartis in the development of the Roadmap and associated materials.