Making science work for development

Complex systems thinking and non communicable disease prevention

14 September 2017

The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) persists worldwide despite proclamations after the 2011 United Nations High Level meeting on NCDs that we already have the know-how to prevent and combat them. Complex systems thinking is increasingly recognised as a useful approach to identifying and evaluating ways of improving multifaceted health problems; it offers a way of putting know-how into action by taking account of the complexities of health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and other NCDs. 

This one-day symposium highlights the value of applying complex systems theory to NCD work in low-, middle- and high-income countries; it assesses the challenges of putting it into action; and reports on ways the theory is being put into practice.

The symposium is suitable for those with no prior knowledge of complex systems thinking as well as those looking to advance its use in preventing and combating NCDs. It will consist of presentations by experts and also offer plenty of opportunities for discussion of questions such as:

How do we put complex systems thinking into practice?
How do we translate its ideas for research funders, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers?
How do we grapple with the challenges of complex systems thinking?