Health Surveillance and Disease Management / Noncommunicable Diseases / CARMEN

Stop the Global Epidemic of Chronic Disease: A Practical Guide to Successful Advocacy

Advocacy Manual

Full Text (58 pp, PDF, 9.6 Mb)
- Foreword
- Introduction
1. Defining the Situation
2. Establishing Your Goal & Objectives
3. Identifying Your Target Audiences
4. Developing Key Messages to Influence Your Target Audience
5. Developing & Implementing Your Advocacy Plan
6. Engaging Media Interest
7. Monitoring, Evaluation, & Useful Tools
Annex 1: Audiences & Considerations
Annex 2: WHO Messages That Can Be Tailored to Specific Audiences
Annex 3: Potential Messengers for Specific Audiences

- CARMEN Network: An initiative of the countries of the Americas and PAHO/WHO to promote the integrated prevention of chronic noncommunicable diseases throughout the Region.
- Chronic Disease Newsletter

Why this manual?

Chronic disease is a global epidemic. The term "chronic disease" includes heart disease and stroke (cardiovascular disease), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, and visual and hearing impairment—which claim 35 million lives every year, and together are the leading cause of death worldwide.

Chronic disease causes people to fall into poverty and create a downward spiral of worsening poverty and illness. They also undermine economic development in many countries. Around 80% of chronic disease deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where most of the world’s population lives. Men and women are affected almost equally and a quarter of all chronic disease deaths occur in people under 60 years of age.

Without action, deaths from chronic disease will increase by 17% between now and 2015. Despite this terrible toll, the scientific knowledge to prevent and control chronic diseases already exists—and the solutions are cost-effective and inexpensive to implement. The World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that 36 million lives can be saved through an additional 2% reduction in chronic disease death rates annually, over the next 10 years to 2015. WHO’s report, Preventing Chronic Aiseases: A Vital Investment, launched in October 2005, revealed the scale of the problem and proposed a positive course of action.

Effective advocacy is needed to convince decision-makers that:

  • Chronic diseases and health promotion merit increased investment at the national and local level.
  • Decisive action carries substantial, cost-effective benefits. 36 million lives can be saved over the next 10 years, which in turn will lead to substantial economic benefits to countries.

This handbook is a guide and practical tool for all advocates, regardless of experience. You may work in a government ministry, in a professional or nongovernmental organization, be a health care professional, a journalist, a member of a consumer or patient group, or simply be a concerned individual.


With comprehensive and integrated action, great progress can be made in the battle against chronic disease. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the CARMEN Network—an initiative of the countries and PAHO/WHO to promote the integrated prevention of chronic noncommunicable diseases throughout the Region—spearheads this effort.

Stop the Global Epidemic of Chronic Disease