As the major cause of premature death worldwide, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are complex and multidimensional, prevention and control of which need global, national, local, and multisectoral collaboration. Governmental stakeholder analysis and social network analysis (SNA) are among the recognized techniques to understand and improve collaboration. Through stakeholder analysis, social network analysis, and identifying the leverage points, we investigated the intersectoral collaboration (ISC) in preventing and controlling NCDs-related risk factors in Iran.
This is a mixed-methods study based on semi-structured interviews and reviewing of the legal documents and acts to identify and assess the interest, position, and power of collective decision-making centers on NCDs, followed by the social network analysis of related councils and the risk factors of NCDs. We used Gephi software version 0.9.2 to facilitate SNA. We determined the supreme councils’ interest, position, power, and influence on NCDs and related risk factors. The Intervention Level Framework (ILF) and expert opinion were utilized to identify interventions to enhance inter-sectoral collaboration.
We identified 113 national collective decision-making centers. Five councils had the highest evaluation score for the four criteria (Interest, Position, Power, and Influence), including the Supreme Council for Health and Food Security (SCHFS), Supreme Council for Standards (SCS), Supreme Council for Environmental Protection (SCIP), Supreme Council for Health Insurance (SCHI) and Supreme Council of the Centers of Excellence for Medical Sciences. We calculated degree, in degree, out-degree, weighted out-degree, closeness centrality, betweenness centrality, and Eigenvector centrality for all councils. Supreme Council for Standards and SCHFS have the highest betweenness centrality, showing Node’s higher importance in information flow. Interventions to facilitate inter-sectoral collaboration were identified and reported based on Intervention Level Framework’s five levels (ILF).
A variety of stakeholders influences the risk factors of non-communicable diseases. Through an investigation of stakeholders and their social networks, we determined the primary actors for each risk factor. Through the different (levels and types) of interventions identified in this study, the MoHME can leverage the ability of identified stakeholders to improve risk factors management. The proposed interventions for identified stakeholders could facilitate intersectoral collaboration, which is critical for more effective prevention and control of modifiable risk factors for NCDs in Iran. Supreme councils and their members could serve as key hubs for implementing targeted inter-sectoral approaches to address NCDs’ risk factors.