How to set up a National Action Network

How National Networks Work

The Bone and Joint Decade is a multi-disciplinary initiative involving everyone concerned with musculoskeletal care including communities, patients, healthcare providers and researchers. Organizations representing these groups are working in partnership at an international, regional and national level.  The Bone and Joint Decade is supported by over a thousand professional, scientific and patient organizations worldwide. National Action Networks (NANs) have been developed in countries throughout the world as umbrella organizations that bring together all the relevant groups to facilitate working together to achieve the goals of the Decade.

To facilitate the development of National Action Networks and to support their activities, the International Coordinating Council (ICC) of the Bone and Joint Decade, in liaison with National Action Networks, has established key guiding principles for the NAN’s:

Guiding Principles

  • The NAN should be multidisciplinary and inclusive – open to representatives from all relevant national professional, scientific and patient organizations.
  • The NAN is most effective when working in a coordinated way between all supporting organizations of the NAN and its activities are best disseminated through the various national organizations that support the BJD.
  • The NAN is most effective by developing a strategic plan to identify its national priorities in the context of the aims of the BJD and an action plan for its delivery. This should be in support of the overall Strategic Action Plan developed by the ICC.
  • The NAN is responsible for disseminating the ideas, activities, news and events of the BJD to the members of its organisations.
  • The NAN can use any creative way to promote and achieve the goals of the Decade, providing they are within the framework of the BJD.
  • The NAN should work with the ICC and support international initiatives (as appropriate).
  • The NAN should operate in an ethical and non-commercial manner.
  • The NAN is most effective by establishing a priority of obtaining or maintaining endorsement of the BJD by its national government.
  • A key goal for the NAN is to gain priority for musculoskeltal conditions in the minds and actions of national opinion formers and decision makers.

Setting Up a National Action Network

No one organisation alone can achieve the goal of the Bone and Joint Decade to increase awareness and influence policy around musculoskeletal conditions. The Bone and Joint Decade therefore aims to establish National Action Networks in countries throughout the world. The Bone and Joint Decade believes in working together to make musculoskeletal conditions a public health priority.

For each country the process to establish a National Action Network is:

  1. Grant a charter for the operation of a National Action Network to carry out its purpose within any nation or other geographical area.
  2. Appoint a National Action Network Coordinator
  3. Identify professional and patient organisations involved in musculoskeletal disorders and get their support and active participation.
  4. Publish editorial articles in the national professional journals explaining the initiative.
  5. Publish articles in the medical as well as non-medical press.
  6. Organise a round-table discussion with participation of appropriate groups to establish the initiative on a national level and to create a national plan to achieve government endorsement.
  7. Work with the Surveillance Task Force of the Bone and Joint Decade to establish the burden of musculoskeletal disorders nationally and globally.
  8. Communicate national activities to the International Coordinating Council.
  9. Achieve National endorsement from the government.

A NAN development toolkit is now available which provides guidance for forming and developing a National Action Network. The latest version of the toolkit is available by clicking here

The ICC recognizes the autonomy of each National Action Network as an opportunity to leverage unique and different national relationships to accomplish the mission of the Decade.

To ensure consistency and credibility of all the activities done in the name of the Decade, a National Action Network operational policy has been developed and can be read here.

For National Action Networks to be recognized by the Bone and Joint Decade and use the name, they must abide by this operational policy.