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Training on the Package of Essential NCD Interventions (PEN) Protocols 1 and 2 - CVD Risk-based Management




Package of Essential NCD Interventions (PEN)




This online course provides information on PEN (Package of Essential interventions for NCDs). PEN, developed by the WHO, is one of the most cost-effective and evidence-based clinical interventions to assess and manage the major NCDs in resource-limited settings. Several countries in the Pacific have introduced PEN to reduce the burden of NCDs. This is a comprehensive course on PEN Protocol 1 and 2, and focuses on the assessment and management of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and diabetes, and on the health education and counselling. This free online non-communicable disease training also includes practical guidance on how to perform CVD-based screening and assessment.

This online course consists of ten (10) modules. The first module provides the epidemiology of lifestyle-related non-communicable diseases and the global and regional responses to these diseases. The PEN interventions for primary healthcare in low resource settings is one of WHO’s best buys in addressing the problem of NCDs. Modules 2 to 10 focus on PEN Protocols 1 and 2, which are associated with the diagnosis and management of individuals with CVDs, or who are at high CVD risk. The course also includes instructional videos on clinical procedures for the early diagnosis of high CVD-risk individuals. The core principle in the PEN approach is to intensely manage individuals with high CVD risk in order to prevent or delay life-threatening and disabling complications and conversely, to conservatively manage those who are at low risk. After completion of this free online certificate on non-communicable disease control, the successful participants are encouraged to contact their country’s appointed focal person for PEN interventions regarding opportunities to have a chance to apply the knowledge they have gained and to develop skills in the use of the PEN guidelines.

After completion of this course, the students shall be able to :

  • Understand the importance of implementing PEN in the pacific
  • Describe how to screen and assess for CVD in PHC settings
  • Utilize prediction charts to estimate CVD risk
  • Manage the patients according to their CVD risk
  • Counsel patients on healthier lifestyles and medical adherence

Getting started
The main aim of this free online course is to provide guidance on PEN Protocol 1 and 2 to frontline health workers who are dealing with NCD patients, and to the students for their future practice. The goal of this course is to mitigate the NCD crisis through effective implementation of PEN Protocol 1 and 2 in the Pacific Island Countries (PICs).
Module 1- Introduction to PEN and Overview of PEN Protocol 1 & 2
This module begins with an introduction of the situation of NCDs globally and in the pacific. It introduces PEN as one of the global responses towards tackling NCDs. This module will also provide the overview of the PEN Protocol 1 and 2, which focuses on assessment and management of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes and on health education and counselling.
Module 2- Assessment and management of individuals with acute signs and symptoms of CVD or with prior CVD
In this module, you will learn how to assess patients with acute symptoms and how to assess patients with prior CVDs in PHC settings.
Module 3- Screening for behavioural risk factors
This module covers screening for the four main behavioural risk factors (smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet) that are the drivers of the NCD crisis. It will enable you to identify who is at risk.
Module 4- Screening for obesity, central adiposity, raised blood pressure and raised pulse rate
Module 4 will guide you on how to screen for obesity, central adiposity, raised blood pressure and pulse rate. It encompasses instructions on how to correctly perform the screening procedures.
Module 5- Screening for obesity, central adiposity, raised blood pressure and raised pulse rate
This module begins with the introduction of Targeted CVD risk screening and the rationale behind it. It provides practical guidance on how to perform CVD focused screening (angina, stroke, TIA, stroke, raised blood sugar, raised blood cholesterol and urine proteins/ketones)and physical assessment.
Module 6- Referral Criteria
As PEN is implemented in PHC settings, Module 7 provides the referral criteria which will guide you on when you should refer your patients to the next level.
Module 7- CVD Risk Estimation
In this module, you will learn how to estimate the CVD risk using the risk prediction charts. It will enable you to interpret the CVD risk and to manage patients according to their risk level.
Module 8- Protocol 2: Health Education and Counseling on Healthy Behaviors
Module 8 focuses on health education and counselling on healthy lifestyles. Education and counselling are core strategies for behaviour change to prevent NCDs and avoid future complications.
Module 9- CVD risk-based management
This module provides guidance on how to manage and treat patients according to the CVD risk level. It encompasses the algorism for blood pressure control and blood sugar control, and information on the basic drugs used in it. Additional actions and advices for diabetic individuals are also covered in this course.
Module 10 - Adherence to treatment
In this module, you will learn the importance on medical adherence and how to counsel patients.

Course Questions & Answers

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Yes, this course has recommended and additional readings. These can all be easily accessed on Moodle.
There is no time limit for completing this IPC self-paced course. POLHN recommends spending about 4 hours per week over the period of 6 weeks.
Once you enrol yourself into this course on Moodle you will have access to all the lectures and assignments.
Once you successfully complete your course by completing all the modules and passing all the assessment, your certificate will be automatically generated and sent to your email. You can also access all your certificates through our digital certification system here: If you are having any problems accessing your certificate, simply email us at and we will help you.

Study Material

This self-paced course has been designed in a manner that enhances understanding of the core concepts and provides easy to access learning materials. The course uses a range of study material such as pre-recorded videos, lecture slides, quizzes and assignments, and is developed by a team of dedicated health education experts.

Getting Help

Connect with other students through the discussion forum, where you can easily discuss the course or debate the ideas. Need more help? Your instructors are also available online to answer any questions you might have.

Extend Your Career with a Verified Certificate

POLHN self-paced courses are recognised by Pacific Ministries of Health. Once you have successfully completed the course, you will receive an official certificate. This certificate can be used for credit to gain CPD points.

Request more info

This is a comprehensive course on PEN Protocols 1 and 2, which focuses on assessment and management of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes, and on health workers’ education and counselling.

Training on the Package of Essential NCD Interventions (PEN) Protocols 1 and 2 - CVD Risk-based Management

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