In current national studies, 80% of Kenyans are unknowingly affected by non-communicable diseases, with similar projections for both urban and rural areas where majority of Kenyans reside. In Kenya, non-communicable diseases contribute to one in every death and account for half of all hospital admissions. Non-communicable diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality globally. Notably, deaths due to non-communicable diseases are projected to rise to 55% by the year 2030 unless appropriate interventions for sustained attention prevention and care are put in place. The four major non-communicable diseases: Cancer, Diabetes and Chronic Respiratory Diseases that comprise 57% of all the NCD deaths. The other less prevalent are, epilepsy, sickle cell disease and other haematological disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, Lupus, Psoriasis, genetic conditions, and congenital anomalies which account for the rest of the deaths (43%).

The Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Health has been working closely with likeminded civil society organizations, development partners and the private sector in addressing the burden of non-communicable diseases. The African Institute for Health and Development has partnered with the MoH since 2004. Some of the achievements of this partnership are the establishment of the Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance in Kenya (NCDAK); the establishment of the Consortium for NCD prevention and Control in Sub-Saharan Africa (CNCD-Africa), implementation of the STEPS survey (2015) and the development of the Kenya National NCD strategy 2015-2020. 

In addition, AIHD has further worked with the Nairobi County Government – Department of Non-Communicable Diseases, in implementing a project titled, ‘NCD quality Management’ since 2016 with the aim to improve the quality of NCDs data collected in health facilities within Nairobi County. In line with this, the Institute proposed to partner with the government and NCDAK in implementing the activity, “Accelerating the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the management of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Nairobi County.’

AIHD aimed to increase the priority, attention, and budget allocation to non-communicable diseases, pursuing the increased awareness on non-communicable diseases especially on major diseases in the county namely, diabetes 1 and 2, hypertension, asthma, and sickle cell anaemia. Also, we sought to establish or strengthen existing follow-up mechanisms for persons living with non-communicable diseases and enhance frequent community screening for NCDS for early identification of non-communicable diseases. It was also important to strengthen the protection of persons living with NCDs during the COVID-19 pandemic and evidence building on the burden of non-communicable diseases at the county level.

Hypertension has been a killer disease in Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. Diabetes is a rising epidemic within the country. In Kenya, the prevalence of diabetes in adults is estimated to be 4.56% amounting to almost 750,000 persons and 20,000 annual deaths. This rise in the burden of diabetes is associated with demographic and social changes such as globalization, urbanization, aging population, and adoption of unhealthy lifestyles such as excessive alcohol consumption.

The institute and NCDAK created awareness on non-communicable diseases by educating the community on several aspects of NCDs such as prevention, control, and management. Education can take place at various levels in the community with healthcare workers, community leaders, persons living with NCDs and their caregivers and the community at large. Persons living with NCDs are likely to encounter a lot of challenges in managing their conditions apart from attending their usual clinics at healthcare centres. The institute conducted home visits to persons living with NCDs, availed drugs and screening equipment to the nearest health facility by mass drug administration and strengthened existing groups for persons living with NCDs, by community accountability. The target locations were Nyeri, Isiolo, Taita Taveta, Makueni, Vihiga, and Kisii.

Subscribe to our newsletter.