Lessons Learnt from the EU Response to NCDs: A Content Analysis on Building Resilient Post-COVID Health Systems

R. Orhan*, M. Paric, K. Czabanowska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) impose a heavy burden on the healthcare system of countries in the European Union (EU). An estimated 91.3% of all deaths and 86.6% of DALYs in the EU-28 were attributable to NCDs. It is imperative that the EU act on mitigating this challenging health issue and help create trajectories for building resilient health systems. Using qualitative analysis, this study examines the question of how the European Commission 2019-2024 is planning to mitigate the impact of NCDs on health systems, while taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic. A content analysis of 44 documents communicating the European Commission's position on the issue was done. In vivo coding was performed using the software package ATLAS.ti 9. Unique codes were simplified and grouped into main themes. Five main themes were identified: 'health plan', 'COVID-19', 'future direction', 'collaboration and solidarity', and 'persuasion'. This study shows that the European Commission is emphasising the impact of the pandemic and the relevance of policies tackling NCDs. By calling for more cross- and multi-sectoral collaboration, the Commission hopes to create the right climate for a European framework for cooperation, which can help develop EU-wide resilient health systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1659
Number of pages14
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • non-communicable diseases
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • resilience
  • public health systems
  • European Health Union
  • European public health

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