Noncommunicable Diseases In East Africa: Assessing The Gaps In Care And Identifying Opportunities For Improvement

Health Aff (Millwood). 2015 Sep;34(9):1506-13. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0382.


The prevalence of noncommunicable diseases in East Africa is rising rapidly. Although the epidemiologic, demographic, and nutritional transitions are well under way in low-income countries, investment and attention in these countries remain focused largely on communicable diseases. We discuss existing infrastructure in communicable disease management as well as linkages between noncommunicable and communicable diseases in East Africa. We describe gaps in noncommunicable disease management within the health systems in this region. We also discuss deficiencies in addressing noncommunicable diseases from basic science research and medical training to health services delivery, public health initiatives, and access to essential medications in East Africa. Finally, we highlight the role of collaboration among East African governments and civil society in addressing noncommunicable diseases, and we advocate for a robust primary health care system that focuses on the social determinants of health.

Keywords: Chronic Care; Determinants Of Health; Disparities; Health Promotion/Disease Prevention; International/global health studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Eastern / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / therapy
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Developing Countries
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / therapy