The selection of policies and interventions for NCD prevention and control typically starts with a situational analysis. This is an information-gathering process that helps understand the specifics of the NCD burden in a particular area (e.g. health needs, risks and local context).4 The situational analysis also provides an opportunity to garner intersectoral collaboration.
The first stage of a situational analysis is usually to establish a group of relevant stakeholders – this includes implementers, potential consumers and other appropriate parties. The exact point at which this group is established and its composition depends on the local context; in some instances, the individuals who set up the situational analysis will have already done work on the topic and a group may already exist.
The stakeholder group should then engage in knowledge exchange activities; this means that they should discuss the health problem and also collate and discuss evidence about environmental, behavioural and personal determinants related to the health problem. This stage helps identify which factors are modifiable and could be prioritized as targets of policies and interventions. The group should also discuss and clearly identify expected outcomes – such as changes in mortality, morbidity or prevalence of risk factors in a target population.
Case study 1 gives an example of a situational analysis carried out in India in relation to diabetes prevention.