Argentina continues to face a silent epidemic of chronic disease due to the ageing of its population and citizens’ increasingly unhealthy behaviors. Progress to reduce the burden of disease has been slow because little emphasis has been placed on health promotion and disease prevention. In 2016, noncommunicable diseases were estimated to be responsible for 78 percent of all deaths in the country. The two main causes of death for both men and women are cardiovascular diseases and cancer, accounting for 40 percent of years of potential life lost in men and 47.7 percent in women. While some progress was made on prevention, by 2010 Argentina had no comprehensive health promotion program. In this context, the project sought to use a results-based approach to further strengthen the management and epidemiological surveillance of programs related to chronic diseases, while continuing to reinforce the Ministry of Health’s stewardship role; to introduce strategies to promote healthier lifestyles and preventive measures for selected chronic diseases; and to ensure coordination of health initiatives at the federal and provincial levels.
The Essential Public Health Functions Project II (FESP II) was designed (i) to support Argentina’s government-led health policies and their goals of reducing mortality and morbidity linked to collective diseases, and (ii) to strengthen the stewardship and governance roles of the National Ministry of Health (MSN) and Provincial Health Ministries (MSP) by developing Essential Public Health Functions and a series of prioritized programs aligned with set health goals. With these objectives in mind and building on progress achieved by its predecessor (FESP I), FESP II emphasized strengthening institutions and capacity building at both the provincial and the national level and forging links with prioritized programs objectives and goals. The results-based approach proved to be an effective mechanism for delivering services to beneficiaries and for supporting institutional development. Using incentives and technical support from the national Ministry of Health to the provinces, the project successfully promoted coordination between the national and provincial levels by supporting consensus building and collaboration.