Main Article Content


Background: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are increasingly affecting developing nations such as Kenya. These diseases include cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs), cancers, diabetes, and mental illnesses. The nation has increasingly been affected by NCDs as opposed to the historic prevalence of communicable diseases. This poses a challenge as they can result in a consistent state of disability in affected individuals. A lack of awareness may be impacting the prevalence of NCDs in Kenya and their causes, including modifiable and non-modifiable factors.

Method: This article utilized a systematic review to critically describe the prevalent NCDs in Kenya as well as provide five practical steps that can be taken to encourage a healthier population that is aware and actively fighting against NCDs.

Results: Lifestyle-related diseases such as CVDs, COPD, cancers, diabetes, and mental illnesses are ever-increasing in Kenya. Their prevalence has increased over the last 10 years in the nation and has been silently wreaking havoc among a population that is not well educated.

Conclusion: With enough dedicated focus on understanding and treating lifestyle-related diseases, there can be positive progress made to reverse the increasing trend of lifestyle-related diseases in the country.


Kenya cardiovascular diseases chronic respiratory diseases cancer diabetes mental health

Article Details

How to Cite
Mtike, G. (2022). The Trend of Non-Communicable Diseases in Kenya from 2010 – 2020. Pan-African Journal of Health and Environmental Science, 1(1). Retrieved from


  1. Achoki, T., Miller-Petrie, M. K., Glenn, S. D., Kalra, N., Lesego, A., Gathecha, G. K., Alam, U., Kiarie, H. W., Maina, I. W., Adetifa, I. M. O., Barsosio, H. C., Degfie, T. T., Keiyoro, P. N., Kiirithio, D. N., Kinfu, Y., Kinyoki, D. K., Kisia, J. M., Krish, V. S., Lagat, A. K., … Naghavi, M. (2019). Health disparities across the counties of Kenya and implications for policymakers, 1990–2016: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet Global Health, 7(1), e81–e95.
  2. Adeloye, D., Sowunmi, O. Y., Jacobs, W., David, R. A., Adeosun, A. A., Amuta, A. O., Misra, S., Gadanya, M., Auta, A., Harhay, M. O., & Chan, K. Y. (2018). Estimating the incidence of breast cancer in Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Global Health, 8(1), 010419.
  3. Allen, L.(2017). Are we facing a noncommunicable disease pandemic? Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health, 7(1), 5–9.
  4. Barasa, F. A., Vedanthan, R., Pastakia, S. D., Crowe, S. J., Aruasa, W., Sugut, W. K., White, R., Ogola, E. S., Bloomfield, G. S., & Velazquez, E. J. (2017). Approaches to sustainable capacity building for cardiovascular disease care in Kenya. Cardiology Clinics, 35(1), 145–152.
  5. Bergh, C., Fall, K., Udumyan, R., Sjöqvist, H., Fröbert, O., & Montgomery, S. (2017). Severe infections and subsequent delayed cardiovascular disease. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 24(18), 1958–1966.
  6. Bigna, J. J., & Noubiap, J. J. (2019). The rising burden of non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. The Lancet Global Health, 7(10), e1295–e1296.
  7. Binanay, C. A., Akwanalo, C. O., Aruasa, W., Barasa, F. A., Corey, G. R., Crowe, S., Esamai, F., Einterz, R., Foster, M. C., Gardner, A., Kibosia, J., Kimaiyo, S., Koech, M., Korir, B., Lawrence, J. E., Lukas, S., Manji, I., Maritim, P., Ogaro, F., … Bloomfield, G. S. (2015). Building sustainable capacity for cardiovascular care at a public hospital in western Kenya. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 66(22), 2550–2560.
  8. Bollyky, T. J., Templin, T., Cohen, M., & Dieleman, J. L. (2017). Lower-Income Countries That Face The Most Rapid Shift In Noncommunicable Disease Burden Are Also The Least Prepared. Health Affairs, 36(11), 1866–1875.
  9. Boutayeb, A. (2010). The impact of infectious diseases on the development of Africa. In V.R. Preedy & R. R. Watson (Eds.), Handbook of disease burdens and quality of life measures (pp. 1171–1188). Springer.
  10. Burney, P., Jarvis, D., & Perez-Padilla, R. (2015). The global burden of chronic respiratory disease in adults. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 19(1), 10–20.
  11. Chatterjee, S., Khunti, K., & Davies, M. J. (2017).Type 2 diabetes. The Lancet, 389(10085), 2239–2251.
  12. Chaudhary, R. K., Shamsi, B. H., Chen, H., Tan, T., Tang, K., & Xing, J. (2016). Risk factors for erectile dysfunction in patients with cardiovascular disease. Journal of International Medical Research, 44(3), 718–727.
  13. Cosselman, K. E., Navas-Acien, A., & Kaufman, J. D. (2015). Environmental factors in cardiovascular disease. Nature Reviews Cardiology, 12(11), 627–642.
  14. Demmler, K. M., Klasen, S., Nzuma, J. M., & Qaim, M. (2017). Supermarket purchase contributes to nutrition-related non-communicable diseases in urban Kenya. PLOS ONE, 12(9), e0185148.
  15. Ekoru, K., Doumatey, A., Bentley, A. R., Chen, G., Zhou, J., Shriner, D., Fasanmade, O., Okafor, G., Eghan, B., Agyenim-Boateng, K., Adeleye, J., Balogun, W., Amoah, A., Acheampong, J., Johnson, T., Oli, J., Adebamowo, C., Collins, F., Dunston, G., … Rotimi, C. (2019). Type 2 diabetes complications and comorbidity in Sub- Saharan Africans. eClinical Medicine, 16, 30–41.
  16. Ezzati, M., Pearson-Stuttard, J., Bennett, J. E., & Mathers, C. D. (2018). Acting on non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income tropical countries. Nature, 559(7715), 507–516.
  17. Fernstrom, M. H., Reed, K. A., Rahavi, E. B., & Dooher, C. C. (2012). Communication strategies to help reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases: Proceedings from the inaugural IFIC Foundation Global Diet and Physical Activity Communications Summit, Nutrition Reviews, 70(5), 301–310.
  18. Gouda, H. N., Charlson, F., Sorsdahl, K., Ahmadzada, S., Ferrari, A. J., Erskine, H., Leung, J., Santamauro, D., Lund, C., Aminde, L. N., Mayosi, B. M., Kengne, A. P., Harris, M., Achoki, T., Wiysonge, C. S., Stein, D. J., & Whiteford, H. (2019). Burden of non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa, 1990–2017: Results from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet Global Health, 7(10), e1375–e1387.
  19. Gowshall, M., & Taylor-Robinson, S. D. (2018). The increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases in low-middle income countries: The view from Malawi. International Journal of General Medicine, 11, 255–264.
  20. Jani, P., Craig, H., Are, C., & Rooprai, G. (2021). Cancer on the global stage: Incidence and cancer-related mortality in Kenya/ World Health Organization Region: Africa. The ASCO Post.
  21. Jeuland, M., Pattanayak, S. K., & Bluffstone, R. (2015). The economics of household air pollution. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 7(1), 81–108.
  22. Jones, T. L. E. (2013). Diabetes mellitus: The increasing burden of disease in Kenya. South Sudan Medical Journal, 6(3), 60-64.
  23. Kariuki, G., & Gathecha, G. (2018). Magnitude and characteristics of COPD mortality in Kenya, 2012-2016. European Respiratory Journal, 52(suppl 62).
  24. Katsarou, A., Gudbjörnsdottir, S., Rawshani, A., Dabelea, D., Bonifacio, E., Anderson, B. J., Jacobsen, L. M., Schatz, D. A., & Lernmark, Å. (2017). Type 1 diabetes mellitus. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 3(1), 1–17.
  25. Kenya Ministry of Health. (2020, July 7). Mental Health Taskforce urges government to declare mental health a National Emergency Nairobi, Tuesday July 7, 2020.
  26. Maina, W. K., Ndegwa, Z. M., Njenga, E. W., & Muchemi, E. W. (2010). Knowledge, attitude and practices related to diabetes among community members in four provinces in Kenya: A cross-sectional study. Pan African Medical Journal, 7(1).
  27. Manwell, L. A., Barbic, S. P., Roberts, K., Durisko, Z., Lee, C., Ware, E., & McKenzie, K. (2015). What is mental health? Evidence towards a new definition from a mixed methods multi-disciplinary international survey. BMJ Open, 5(6), e007079.
  28. Mbwayo, A. W., Ndetei, D. M., Mutiso, V., & Khasakhala, L. I. (2013). Traditional healers and provision of mental health services in cosmopolitan informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya. African Journal of Psychiatry, 16(2), 134–140.
  29. McGuire, S. (2016). World cancer report 2014. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO Press, 2015. Advances in Nutrition, 7(2), 418-419.
  30. Mohamed, S. F., Mwangi, M., Mutua, M. K., Kibachio, J., Hussein, A., Ndegwa, Z., Owondo, S., Asiki, G., & Kyobutungi, C. (2018). Prevalence and factors associated with pre-diabetes and diabetes mellitus in Kenya: Results from a national survey. BMC Public Health, 18(3), 1215.
  31. Momenyan, S., Sadeghifar, M., Sarvi, F.,Khodadost, M., Mosavi-Jarrahi, A., Ghaffari, M. E., & Sekhavati, E. (2016). Relationship between urbanization and cancer incidence in Iran using quantile regression. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 17, 113–117.
  32. Musyimi, C. W., Mutiso, V. N., Nayak, S. S., Ndetei, D. M., Henderson, D. C., & Bunders, J. (2017). Quality of life of depressed and suicidal patients seeking services from traditional and faith healers in rural Kenya. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 15(1), 95.
  33. Ndetei, D. M., Khasakhala, L. I., Mutiso, V., & Mbwayo, A. W. (2011). Knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) of mental illness among staff in general medical facilities in Kenya: Practice and policy implications. African Journal of Psychiatry, 14(3), 225–235.
  34. Ndetei, D. M, Mutiso, V., Maraj, A., Anderson, K., Musyimi, C., & Mckenzie, K. (2015). Stigmatizing attitudes toward mental illness among primary school children in Kenya. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51.
  35. Olando, Y., Kuria, M., Mathai, M., & Huffman, M. D. (2019). Efficacy of a group tobacco cessation behavioral intervention among tobacco users with concomitant mental illness in Kenya: Protocol for a controlled clinical trial. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1700. 8040-2
  36. Onyango, E. M., & Onyango, B. M. (2018). The Rise of Noncommunicable Diseases in Kenya: An Examination of the Time Trends and Contribution of the Changes in Diet and Physical Inactivity. Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health, 8(1–2), 1–7.
  37. Pearce, N. (2011). Traditional Epidemiology, Modern Epidemiology, and Public Health. American Journal of Public Health, 86(5), 678-683.
  38. Rajesh V., Jemima H., Gerald S., Imran M., Sonak P., and Sylvester N. (2015). Engaging the Entire Care Cascade in Western Kenya: A Model to Achieve the Cardiovascular Disease Secondary Prevention Roadmap Goals. Global Heart, 10(4), 313-317.
  39. Reubi, D., Herrick, C., & Brown, T. (2016). The politics of non-communicable diseases in the global South. Health & Place, 39, 179–187.
  40. Richards, N. C., Gouda, H. N., Durham, J., Rampatige, R., Rodney, A., & Whittaker, M. (2016). Disability, noncommunicable disease and health information. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 94(3), 230–232.
  41. Saeedi, P., Petersohn, I., Salpea, P., Malanda, B., Karuranga, S., Unwin, N., Colagiuri, S., Guariguata, L., Motala, A. A., Ogurtsova, K., Shaw, J. E., Bright, D., & Williams, R. (2019). Global and regional diabetes prevalence estimates for 2019 and projections for 2030 and 2045: Results from the International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas, 9th edition. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 157.
  42. Sahni, S., Talwar, A., Khanijo, S., & Talwar, A. (2017). Socioeconomic status and its relationship to chronic respiratory disease. Advances in Respiratory Medicine, 85(2), 97–108.
  43. Shannon, G. D., Haghparast-Bidgoli, H., Chelagat, W., Kibachio, J., & Skordis-Worrall, J. (2019). Innovating to increase access to diabetes care in Kenya: An evaluation of Novo Nordisk’s base of the pyramid project. Global Health Action, 12(1), 1605704.
  44. Shiroya, V., Neuhann, F., Müller, O., & Deckert, A. (2019). Challenges in policy reforms for non-communicable diseases: The case of diabetes in Kenya. Global Health Action, 12(1),1611243.
  45. Siddharthan, T., Ramaiya, K., Yonga, G., Mutungi, G. N., Rabin, T. L., List, J. M., Kishore, S. P., & Schwartz, J. I. (2015). Noncommunicable diseases in East Africa: Assessing the gaps in care and identifying opportunities for improvement. Health Affairs, 34(9), 1506–1513.
  46. Smit, M., Perez-Guzman, P. N., Mutai, K. K., Cassidy, R., Kibachio, J., Kilonzo, N., & Hallett, T. B. (2020). Mapping the current and future noncommunicable disease burden in Kenya by human immunodeficiency virus status: A modeling study. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 71(8), 1864–1873.
  47. Soriano, J. B., Kendrick, P. J., Paulson, K. R., Gupta, V., Abrams, E. M., Adedoyin, R. A., Adhikari, T. B., Advani, S. M., Agrawal, A., Ahmadian, E., Alahdab, F., Aljunid, S. M., Altirkawi, K. A., Alvis-Guzman, N., Anber, N. H., Andrei, C. L., Anjomshoa, M., Ansari, F., Antó, J. M., … Vos, T. (2020). Prevalence and attributable health burden of chronic respiratory diseases, 1990–2017: A systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2017. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 8(6), 585–596.
  48. Spencer, C. Y. (2018). M2 A study of the prevalence of respiratory morbidity in the masaai people living in the rural areas of kajiado district, kenya. Thorax, 73(Suppl 4), A246–A246.
  49. Su, Z., McDonnell, D., Wen, J., Kozak, M., Abbas, J., Šegalo, S., Li, X., Ahmad, J., Cheshmehzangi, A., Cai, Y., Yang, L., & Xiang, Y.-T. (2021). Mental health consequences of COVID-19 media coverage: The need for effective crisis communication practices. Globalization and Health, 17(1), 4.
  50. Thornicroft, G., Mehta, N., Clement, S., Evans- Lacko, S., Doherty, M., Rose, D., Koschorke, M., Shidhaye, R., O’Reilly, C., Henderson, C. (2016). Evidence for effective interventions to reduce mental-health-related stigma and discrimination. The Lancet, 387(10023). 1123-1132.
  51. van Gemert, F. A., Kirenga, B. J., Gebremariam, T. H., Nyale, G., de Jong, C., & van der Molen, T. (2018). The complications of treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in low income countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Expert Review of Respiratory Medicine, 12(3), 227–237.
  52. Wagner, K.-H., & Brath, H. (2012). A global view on the development of non communicable diseases. Preventive Medicine, 54, S38–S41.
  53. Wamai, R. G., Kengne, A. P., & Levitt, N. (2018). Non-communicable diseases surveillance: Overview of magnitude and determinants in Kenya from STEPwise approach survey of 2015. BMC Public Health, 18(S3), 1224.
  54. Wekesah, F. M., Klipstein-Grobusch, K., Grobbee, D. E., Kadengye, D., Asiki, G., & Kyobutungi, C. K. (2020). Determinants of Mortality from Cardiovascular Disease in the Slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Global Heart, 15(1), 33.
  55. Wen, D., Zou, W., Wen, X., Yang, Y., Chen,Y., He, Y., Wang, G., & Shan, B. (2018). Urban–rural disparity in colorectal cancer incidence and increasing trend in relation to socioeconomic development and urbanization in China. Journal of International Medical Research, 46(10), 4181–4196.
  56. Weru, J., Gatehi, M., & Musibi, A. (2020). Randomized control trial of advanced cancer patients at a private hospital in Kenya and the impact of dignity therapy on quality of life. BMC Palliative Care, 19(1), 114.
  57. World Health Organization. (2004). Promoting mental health: Concepts, emerging evidence, practice: Summary report/ A report from the World Health Organization, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in collaboration with the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation and the University of Melbourne.
  58. World Health Organization. (2020, December 9). The top 10 causes of death
  59. World Health Organization. (2022, February 3). Cancer.
  60. World Health Organization. (2022a). Chronic respiratory diseases.
  61. World Health Organization. (2022b). Mental health.
  62. World Health Organization Africa. (2018, June 21).
  63. Zaman, M. M., Rahman, M., Rahman, R., Bhuiyan, M. R., Karim, N., & Chowdhury, A. J. (2016). Prevalence of Risk Factors for Non-Communicable Diseases in Bangladesh: Results from STEPS Survey 2010. Indian Journal of Public Health, 60(1), 17–25.