Improving clinical practice in primary care for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases: a multi-actor approach to two regional pilot projects in Kazakhstan
Improving access to quality services is integral to achieving better outcomes for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). In Kazakhstan, like other countries with historically centralized governance models, key to improving quality is instilling a common and shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities in correspondence with the multifaceted nature of quality of care. This review details the experience of two pilot projects implemented in Kazakhstan’s regions of Kyzylorda and Mangystau over a three-year period with the aim to improve clinical practice through a multi-actor, multi-intervention approach. Adopting a health system perspective, the pilots, by design, introduced interventions targeting four actors: policy-makers; health facility managers; health practitioners and patients. The review draws on the following sources of data: rapid baseline assessments; implementation plans, curriculums and other pilot-related material; a mid-way joint implementation meeting; intervention-specific evaluations; and a final external evaluation. The multi-actor, multi-intervention approach to the pilot projects showed some improvements to service outputs, in particular for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and decreases in hospitalization rates for hypertension. The pilot projects also illustrated progress in working towards a shared understanding of the different roles of actors for improving quality of care, appreciating the complementarity of individual actors working towards improved population health and in establishing a culture of learning through the exchange of ideas and practices. The importance of responsibility across health system actors for outcomes is vital for the NCD agenda. This approach offers relevant policy lessons for similar centralized governance systems.