Challenges to the surveillance of non-communicable diseases--a review of selected approaches.
BACKGROUND Chronic diseases are now a major health problem in developing countries as well as in the developed world. Although chronic diseases cannot be communicated from person to person, their risk factors (for example, smoking, inactivity, dietary habits) are readily transferred around the world. With increasing human progress and technological advance, the pandemic of chronic diseases will become an even bigger threat to global health. METHODS Based on our experiences and publications as well as review of the literature, we contribute ideas and working examples that might help enhance global capacity in the surveillance of chronic diseases and their prevention and control. Innovative ideas and solutions were actively sought. RESULTS Ideas and working examples to help enhance global capacity were grouped under seven themes, concisely summarised by the acronym "SCIENCE": Strategy, Collaboration, Information, Education, Novelty, Communication and Evaluation. CONCLUSION Building a basis for action using the seven themes articulated, especially by incorporating innovative ideas, we presented here, can help enhance global capacity in chronic disease surveillance, prevention and control. Informed initiatives can help achieve the new World Health Organization global goal of reducing chronic disease death rates by 2% annually, generate new ideas for effective interventions and ultimately bring global chronic diseases under greater control.