Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have been on the rise in Kenya over the past decade,
responsible for over 55 per cent of deaths, and still stand as one of the world’s most challenging
health, social and economic issues in Kenya.
NCDs can be defined as chronic diseases that are not transmissible. They constitute a large
group of diseases that are of long duration, and generally slow to progress, with the 4 main
types of non-communicable diseases being cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and
stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease
and asthma) and diabetes.
In ASAL counties, the common risk factors for developing these chronic diseases are such as poor
diet, a sedentary lifestyle, exposure to tobacco and harmful use of alcohol are near ubiquitous,
contributing to the rapid rise of NCDs globally and impacting on many other areas of human and
economic development. While the traditional understanding of NCDs portrays it as a problem of the
old and wealthy, the new reality is that the burden of diseases from NCDs lies disproportionately in
LMICs. Contrary to popular opinion, available data demonstrate that nearly 80% of NCD deaths occur
in LMICs. Since the landmark 2011 UN Summit, there has been a greater appreciation of the
emerging burden of NCDs in LMICS. However, despite repeat calls for action, the NCD burden is